Me, me, me!

Bank strong room

Last night saw the final of the new TV quiz programme, The Bank Job. The competition had lasted all week, and the winners from each of the five previous programmes gathered to see who could win the grand prize of over £140,000. Soon the three tense preliminary rounds gave way to the final’s final round. Only two young men were left; but the final round had a twist!

No longer were there any questions. Each young man was given half the prize money stored in a small metal suitcase. They were also given an identical suitcase each, filled with newspapers, and were allowed to secretly check the contents of their own two cases. They then had to choose one of their cases to give to their opponent. If they both decided to give away their case filled with newspaper, they would not be allowed to keep anything, but if they both gave away their case of money, they would be allowed to keep what was given, just over £70,000 each. However, if one gave newspaper and the other gave money, the one receiving the money would be allowed to keep it plus the case of money he had kept for himself, a prize totalling over £140,000.

What would each man do? One of them begged the other one to share, saying how much the money would mean to him and his family. The two suitcases were exchanged and placed in front of the cameras. What was in each suitcase? The cases were opened. Both contained … newspaper! Both had hung on to their money hoping to have the whole prize fund for themselves, but being unwilling to share, they had both lost. Their greed had brought them nothing; instead the prize fund was shared out between the three losing finalists, who each received almost £50,000.

As Jesus once said, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full —pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give to others will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:37-38)


Happy New Year!

2012 - written in the sand
Time passes

A very Happy New Year to you all!

What a year 2011 turned out to be; earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ; an earthquake and tsunami in Japan; political earthquakes spreading across the Arab world; financial earthquakes in Europe; the death of Osama Bin laden; a tragic shooting incident in Norway; disastrous storms in the USA; a new nation in Africa, South Sudan, and two royal weddings in the UK! Will 2012 be more of the same?

On a more personal level, today is the first working day of a new year for many of us. What sort of year are you hoping for? A happier one? A more successful one? Are you hoping to weigh less, drink less or spend less? And what are you bringing with you into 2012?

Were you hurt last year? Were you cheated? Did you fail last year? I know I did. Some of us begin a new year by bringing with us the disappointments, the failures and the regrets of the past twelve months. These sorts of things weigh us down. Forgiveness and letting go of the past can work wonders. Now is an opportunity for a new start; last year has gone. Look ahead, not back to the past. You can’t undo the past, but you can improve on it.

Our Creator is continually working to make things new, and He wants to do the same in your life, if you’ll let Him. As God once said through the prophet Isaiah:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Time passes, and as it does we can be reassured that His love for us never falters. Another prophet, Jeremiah, also spoke for God, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)