Giving of Yourself #digidisciple (@changingworship)

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”

John 1:43

Do you remember that day when you first felt a pull on the inside when you hear the words “follow me”?  That moment where it you felt it was more important to head in a different direction and give something of yourself.  Well some days you come across a news article that makes you have a rethink about what it means to give of yourself.

When a south London secondary school asked for an inspiring guest speaker to talk to their pupils, they didn’t expect Bill Gates to turn up.  But youngsters at Deptford Green School, gathered in their school hall on Wednesday morning, found themselves being addressed by one of the great philanthropists of the modern age.

I have to admit, the last time I read an article about a premiership speaker at a local school it was Jonny Depp in a pirate outfit and it came with an instant kudos that the Bill Gates seemed to lack.  As I read on I found something much deeper here than merely giving oneself in a funky costume.

“If I hadn’t given my money away, I would now have more money than anyone else on the planet,” he said casually.

Now there is a claim!  To be the richest person on the planet but deciding to give it up for something better – to eradicate polio.  And to do it within his lifetime! 

As we read the news each day we see more gloomy news of financial catastrophe and if we believe the harbingers of doom, the end of civilisation as we know it.  The capitalist dream of perpetual growth and the constant acquisition of wealth it would seem has reached the end of its credit limit and we now wonder what is to come next.  And yet here we have the person who was most successful in that quest coming to the realisation that that aim in itself has not been enough.

Social justice is at the heart of the gospel.  When Jesus called a bunch of misfits together from the side of the lake, corner of the streets and down from trees he put them on a path towards righting the wrongs and fixing the inequalities they encountered.  And he continues to call misfits like me and you to do the same.  To follow him.  To turn around and join the journey he is on towards a world where the words “Your kingdom come, Your will be done” means everyone having a life worth living.  As Bill Gates told a group of teenagers, “The goal is equity. If we don’t have these diseases, why should people in Africa or Asia?”

I don’t know Bill Gates.  We’re not best buds.  We don’t share a friendly chat over a pint and a game of pool in my local every Thursday night.  I get a sense that through the last 56 years he has been on a journey that has taken him from the kid at school who was good at maths to the richest man on Earth.  Of the many places he has been he now finds himself in a school giving of himself and telling a bunch of teenagers that he is looking at the world in which he lives and trying to make it a better place.

A real world news story of a man who is aiming a bit higher and giving of himself.

About Robb

Robb is a priest and a vicar in the Church of England. His academic interest is in liturgy, alt:worship and the emerging church and is particularly keen on exploring the sacramantal within worship. He lives in Yorkshire and has a passion for heavy metal, playing in a pub band and riding a Harley.