I was talking to a friend this evening, and was reminded of a story I experienced last week in the Middle East. Even as I think of it, I get a little emotional, so please forgive the erratic writing here.
I was talking one night to a group of multi-nationals. The topic: Giving your life away.
We all know it to be true, right? The more we give of ourselves, the more we line our lives up with the way God works. For if God could send His only Son to the earth to give His live for us; then we must be willing to follow in like example, right?
If we can put into practice the use of our gifts and talents to see the whole body of Christ come to fruition, well…that's how God intended the body to function.
If you're a giver, give generously.
If you're an encourager, encourage joyfully.
If you're a leader, lead with zeal.
You know, the best parts of Romans 12.
The evening was coming to a close.
I prayed to close us out.
For some reason a line started with people who just wanted to say "thanks."
As usual, it's always a bit awkward to stand at the front of a room after a service and receive such wonderful encouragement, but this time it was different.
A small woman from the Philippines came up to shake my hand. Expecting a "Thanks so much for your ministry" I extended my hand in gratitude when she told me her story. She was a home worker and had been living in the Middle East for some time. She didn't make much money. She was never going to be in a position of power. She had no 'climb the corporate ladder' type of zeal. But she said, "You've touched my heart so deeply, I want to give you something." I held out my hand and she dropped a few coins in my palm.
"This is all I have, but God wants to bless you today."
Have you ever stood in the presence of such profound spiritual movement?
I felt like I was whisked away to the time when the widow dropped her two little mites in the offering plate and Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury
than all the others. They
all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in
everything—all she had to live on." (Mark 12)
I was embarrassed at first.
I didn't need the money.
I didn't need this sacrifice.
My needs were being met at every turn.
But this woman just followed God's direction and gave.
Some will read this and think, "Oh, here he goes. It's the old pastor trick. This is how they use the Bible to get money."
Nope. Don't go there.
I was just reminded this evening in a short conversation, I need to be more like that. I need to give God everything I have out of my trust in Him. When I speak to groups, when I disciple people, when I give myself away, I need to muster up every gift God has given me to present a clear message.
Not out of left over abundant energy.
Not out of anything I can just cruise through without sacrifice.
Certainly not out of anything that comes from my own production.
But rather; I need to give like my Middle Eastern friend, out of God's direction.
May we be people who give our lives to the fullest.
May we give, not out of abundance, but out of necessity to God's moving in our lives.
May the sacrifice we hear the Lord calling us to be born out of the Spirit moving.
I'm thankful for my Middle Eastern friend.
I'm thankful for a God who was willing to sacrifice for me.
I'm thankful for all the wonderful people I run into who are focused on sacrificing for the gospel.