Giving your life away a bit at a time is a lifelong occupation. It starts with a full surrender to the will of God in your life—and doing so before you know what it entails. “Whatever, Lord; whenever, Lord; however, Lord” are good words to use. It is a mind-set that asks, “What do I possess that I did not receive?” A mind-set that is ever grateful for Jesus. A mind-set that regards everything I have as a trust for the kingdom. I am simply a steward, not only of the mysteries of God (1Cor. 4:1), but also of anything God gives me here and now to use for Him. That includes my property, my home and garden, my cars, my bank balance, and so on. Everything. Jesus didn’t say to the rich young ruler, “Leave some of it in escrow and follow me.” He said, “Sell everything you have….Then come, follow me” (Luke 18:22).
The amazing thing is that when you live like this, you find your own needs being met. Paul says to his generous friends in Philippi, “My God shall supply all your needs as you supply other people’s needs. That’s how it works. You supplied mine, God will supply yours” (Phil. 4:19).
I want my life to be characterized by generosity. I want people to see me giving it all, all the time, all the way. I want to because that’s what Jesus did for me. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” says Paul, “that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
When you know the grace of Jesus, then it’s easy to respond in kind. Ask yourself: “How can I become poorer for Jesus?” This may not sit well in some circles today. I hear a lot of, “How can I become richer for Jesus?” Ask instead, “What can I give away? What would really cost me?” Do you get rid of all your loose change in the offering, or do you empty your purse into the plate and walk ten miles home because you have no money to pay for a bus ride, as a friend of mine did one day in response to a missionary offering? Extreme? Maybe. But did I hear a laugh? A great, grand cosmic laugh? Does God love the one who learns the spiritual art of generosity in all its dimensions? Oh yes, very much!
“Well, Jill,” I hear you say, “I can’t do that. That’s taking this Christianity you talk about too far.” It’s a question of “Will you?” not, “Can you?” You can do anything God calls you to do. “Well,” you say with relief, “God hasn’t ‘called’ me to be irresponsible with money.” True enough—God has simply asked you to give it all away. Come, follow Him. Like the rich young ruler, you will go away sad if you refuse to abandon your life—all you have and all you are—to God. It’s a choice. If you take the challenge, then you’ll be able to say with Paul, “I can do everything through [Christ] who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
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