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Generous freedom

El Elyon has made a life of fearless generosity possible

Genesis 14 tells the story of Abram rescuing his nephew Lot along with the rest of the inhabitants of Sodom, Gomorrah and the other allies of the Valley of Siddim.

The spoils of this war would have established Abram as an undisputed king. He already had the command of 300 men at his disposal and now he had won the wealth of the five richest cities in the region. In the Valley of Kings, the indebted King of Sodom met Abram to plead for mercy and the scraps of his and his allies’ former wealth. But before this meeting took place, Abram was interrupted by the mysterious Melchizedek, the king of righteousness, who ministered to him with bread and wine and a blessing.

The meal and the blessing revealed to Abram another one of God’s names – El Elyon, God Most High – and reminded him of an old truth: God is the creator and provider of all things in heaven and on earth. Abram responded by gifting Melchizedek with a tenth of all he had and refused to accept any of the rescued kings’ riches. Instead, he gave it all back, after providing for the needs of those who had helped him defeat the invading armies.

The encounter with Melchizedek convinced Abram that God would provide for him, always, because everything belonged to God anyway. It taught him that being in a right relationship with God meant that Abram was free to be unafraid and completely generous with all that he had.

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What Melchizedek revealed to Abram in part, Christ reveals to us in full. Through Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, we can enter into an abundant, lavish life with El
Elyon, the creator and provider of everything. Through Jesus we are free to rely fully on God’s provision, to be faithful with His gifts to us, and generous with what has been entrusted to us.

All our needs are met in Christ. When we come to the Lord’s table and share in the bread and wine, we acknowledge that Christ has provided for us in full, that His grace is all-sufficient, that we are co-heirs with Him, and we share in His inheritance. We do not need to fear scarcity; we can be confident that when we are free in Christ, free to live a full and abundant life, we are free to be generous.

Generosity born out of a position of freedom can take many different forms: it can look radical, wise or even subversive. For some, living a free and generous life may start with the immediate need to be free from debt. Debt can be crippling and scary; it can ensnare and enslave, leaving you feeling imprisoned – the very opposite of free. Christians Against Poverty (CAP), one of our member organisations, provides free expert support to individuals and families as they complete their journey to being debt-free. We urge you the find out more if you or anyone you know are struggling with debt: capuk​.org

For others, living a free and generous life may involve learning how to rely on El Elyon even more, as you continue to think about and respond to the call to generous living. Another one of our member organisations, Stewardship, has produced a range of resources to help develop your giving to the causes you care about: www​.stew​ard​ship​.org​.uk/​r​e​s​o​urces

The Evangelical Alliance is working more closely with its members to inspire a new wave of generosity throughout the church in the UK, so that we are equipped to work together to make Jesus known. To this end, we have teamed up with Generosity Path, which runs 24-hour retreats for those who would like to reflect on their personal giving. We held a generosity retreat in March for some of our supporters and the feedback was positive; all said how helpful the retreat had been. Last October, we hosted a lunch for some of our member organisations, to explore the joy of generous giving.

The Evangelical Alliance is hoping to run another retreat in the autumn. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Sue Wilmot, head of giving, at s.​wilmot@​eauk.​org.

About the author

Jo joined the Evangelical Alliance in September 2017, having previously worked with a number of Christian charities, including Share Jesus, Release International and Bible Society. Jo completed her Masters in Public Communications at Westminster before joining an international campaigns consultancy specialising in human rights and environment issues. She then went on to set up her own business as a communications consultant and brand specialist. Jo teaches and preaches regularly on communications, conflict, whole-life discipleship, mission and leadership.

See more from Jo Frost

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