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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grow – Invite – Connect – Give

A couple of years ago, as I was reading my Bible (I can’t remember exactly what) I was struck with a thought that I wrote down on a post-it note.

We exist to give our lives away that others might know the depth of God’s love.

I still have the post-it note and it is still stuck in my Bible. When I see it, it gives me pause and makes me consider how my life lines up with that insight.

I am regularly amazed at the patience, grace and forbearance of God. It is clear that he loves us tremendously. The greatest act of love was the death of his son on the cross. That act of love opened a whole new life of forgiveness and freedom that was unknown since the Garden of Eden. But God doesn’t force himself upon us. He doesn’t demand that we receive his love. He doesn’t require that we live in his grace or that we recognize him for who he is.

Likewise, when we become followers of Jesus, God’s patience, grace and forbearance continue even when we don’t trust him fully with our lives and our possessions. God does not force us to give, but he calls us to a life of giving.

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church he concludes with the challenge to “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” What was the work of the Lord? Spreading the good news of Jesus, caring for each other, loving the poor and helpless, feeding the hungry, sharing their resources, teaching truth, exercising their spiritual gifts in community with others - to name a few.

Really, I think it is safe to say that whatever we do, done for the glory of God, is the work of the Lord.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Our greatest acts of faith come in the form of giving. Giving always requires something from us or of us. Inherent in the act of giving is a level of self-sacrifice that looks to the needs of others above ourself. Unfortunately, we often see this as painful but God wants us to see it as joyful!
"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7, NIV)
As Jesus grabs hold of our heart we come to see that we don’t live for ourselves, we live to give. In giving, we find blessing. In giving, others see the reality of Jesus. In us giving our lives away, others see the depth of God’s love.

Grow – Invite – Connect – Give

1 comment:

livingloved said...

I think you should throw this note away and write a new one that says:

We exist because we are loved by God, and when we fully immerse ourselves in that love, we are able to give our lives away that we and others might know the depth of God's love.