The Only Gift That Counts- Jon Owen

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The following thought is from Jon Owen of Urban Neighbours of Hope. Jon has been a regular speaker at the Forum, and lives and works in the community in Mt. Druitt in Sydney’s Western suburbs. He and his family live out the idea of servant leadership in a very tangible and humble way amongst their neighbours and friends and are wonderful examples of what it means to love others in our world today.

Lisa and I just shared a laugh as one of our kids ran inside the house and declared “she has to come and live here, her mum is going to kill her!” One of their friends had just been busted smoking a cigarette and had done a runner. We love our girls instinct to offer sanctuary, but there is some pain that shouldn’t be avoided.

We have made so many mistakes over the years that being conned and still remaining open should be elevated to the status of a Spiritual Discipline. Some people are so broken they believe that the only thing that will fix their aching hearts is stuff, yet no amount of stuff can ever fill a gap that big. Only love can do that. Still when people are broken they accumulate as much of it as they can find. Christmas sadly feeds this kind of pain.

No one could be as happy and well organised as all the people on the Christmas commercials can they? I bet they don’t have kids who want what every kid wants but live in a family where there isn’t even enough money to pay the bills, no matter how hard they work.

The stress and strain takes it’s toll.

I just bumped into my good mate Jimmy at the local, he feels it bitterly in his guts every year. His family use Christmas as a gathering point to remember their recently deceased parents. This breaks him up inside because he holds a lonely secret from them about his dad, one that he will never tell them either. He unloads on me and knows that no amount of stuff will help his hurt, so instead we share a laugh, a game of pool and make plans for the weekend. He is a mate and hero.

We never try and fix people. All we ever try and do is meet them where they are and offer them all we really have to give, which is the gift of a relationship. A relationship that time and time again we have seen can change everything.

All we do is extend our hands, the rest is up to them. Till we gather again please fill your hearts and not your stockings.

Much love and thanks,

Jon Owen


Title: The Only Gift that Counts
Author: Jon Owen
Format: Blog Post
Published: 2015
Publisher: Urban Neighbours of Hope (UNOH)
Aceess: NSLF Online Library and

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