We love sharing stories about the different ways churches in York are giving through the Besom. Whether that’s delivering white goods on a van run, decorating a recipient’s house or organising the annual Christmas hamper distribution, it’s great to celebrate the different ways giving is taking place.
But you may be wondering what makes all this specifically ‘Christian’? We always offer to pray for our recipients, but is that the only difference between The Besom in York and many secular charities who are doing great work to care for the poor and needy in our city?
Firstly, we should say that there is nothing intrinsically better about the social action we’re involved in at the Besom. We make no claim of being perfect and know that at times our limited resources will not be enough.
Instead, the key difference is how faith in Jesus shapes everything we do as Christians. Because Jesus has saved us through his death on the cross, we are called to live for him in response. The motivation we have for giving through the Besom and anything else we do as Christians is the love that Jesus has shown us. Indeed, the Bible is clear that whatever we do, including our giving, we should do it as working for the Lord.
Therefore, when we give, we should be doing it for God’s glory. That should mean we are fully committed to our Besom giving, but we should never think we are earning our way into God’s good books by it.
The Bible is also clear that caring for the poor and needy is what God calls his people to do. The starting point should be that no one in our churches is in that position, but in both the Old and New Testament believers are told to demonstrate their faith in the way they treat the most vulnerable in society.
In Deuteronomy 10, we read that God “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt”. Likewise, in James 1, Christians are called to “look after orphans and widows in their distress”.
It is our ultimate prayer and longing that all Besom recipients come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour and themselves become members of churches in York. We are and will always be open about our faith in Jesus and look to share the gospel, the best news in the world whenever we have the opportunity. Gospel mission should never be separated from social action. They should always fuel each other and we must always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us about the hope that we have in Jesus.
A blog entry I wrote in 2015 shares more about the Besom vision. And in it, James Odgers, who founded the Besom nationally, said: “It is offensive to proclaim the good news without demonstrating it. It is a waste of time to demonstrate the good news without proclaiming it.”
As Christmas hamper season approaches, we pray that we will keep doing both of these. What makes Besom giving ‘Christian’? It’s realising that we give out of gratitude to the Ultimate Giver.
Ed Mezzetti, Core Team Member and Blog Editor
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