Giving – A Sacrifice & A Discipline

There’s a verse in John 15 where Jesus says “Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (verse 13)

The Message translation puts it like this:

“This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.”

Jesus’ act of submission to the cross is the greatest act of generosity the world has even seen.  He literally laid down His life for us, his friends. Jesus gave everything He had to make things right again between us and the Father. An amazing, selfless act of giving.

And He commands us to give in the same ways!

If you look through the Bible you can find lots of passages which urge us to be generous in giving our money, our time and our effort. It’s not hard to find a verse which teaches us the different ways we are to love others. But like so many things in the Bible, it’s not understanding what God says which is difficult but the doing it that’s really hard!!

Giving something of ourselves to someone else, laying down our lives, is a sacrifice and a discipline. We don’t usually find ourselves giving by accident! Sometimes we find it easy to do something generous for someone else, for me it’s easier if it’s someone I’m good friends with or if it actually won’t take that much effort.  But we’re to practice laying down our lives even when we don’t find it easy and it’s not convenient. Giving of our money, time and effort is an investment into the kind of culture we want in our communities, church and in the world. Jesus also teaches us that we reap what we sow.  If we as leaders are not prepared to take on the discipline of generosity towards others then we won’t grow a culture of it within our MSCs either. We also won’t experience the richest of blessings that God has in store for us as we give.

Personally God has taught Ben and I so much about trusting Him with money – but it started with a risk we took to be generous.  We couldn’t have learnt how to be secure in trusting Him with money if we hadn’t taken a risk first.  And the risk was really to believe that what He says about Himself is true – He is a good Father and can be completely trusted to take care of us.

There are other risks he could be asking us to take as we think about where we need to be generous in terms of money, time and effort.  What kind of risk is He asking you to take as you learn to love and lay down your life for others at the moment?

Helen Askew