In preparing for Haiti, I decided to re-open the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. This is one of my favorite books. I wanted to share one of the parts in the books that really spoke into my life and made me see giving in a different way. Here are my thoughts…
This is the only place in the bible where God is telling us to test Him, to try and out-give Him. He knows that it is impossible. No one can out give the one from who ALL things come. Nothing that we have is ours, it ALL belongs to God. Jesus knows that people will realize “we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chron. 29:14).
- There is nothing in this life of mine that strengthens me more than God blessing what I give back to Him, what I surrender at His feet.
- Do you want to experience God’s supernatural provision? Then do as He says…Test HIM.Give more than you can manage, and see how He responds.
We need to completely surrender and sacrifice ourselves to God and the ultimate example of this is, of course, Jesus Christ. He had everything and still chose to surrender it out of LOVE to His father. We should have this same attitude as Christ (Philippians 2:6-11). What would the world be like if we truly took on the attitude of Christ and made ourselves nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant giving away what God has blessed us with?
John clearly tells us that “whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6). What does this means? To make yourself nothing, to become a servant, to reach out to the lost, lonely, poor, to show Free love, and to be obedient unto death…
In Matt 25 we get a frightening picture of the coming judgment. Christ condemns people to eternal punishment because they did not care for Him while their life here on earth.
- “I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me” (vv. 42-43).
They responded with they never saw Christ in any of these positions of need. Christ responds with, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (v.45).
The two greatest commands are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” When we love the “least of these” we are loving God himself.
Jesus is saying that we show tangible love for God in how we care for the poor and those who are suffering. He expects us to treat the poor and the desperate as if they were Christ Himself. If Jesus was starving, what would you do for Him?
- “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us.” – 1 John 3:16-20
- Is it possible to have the Love of Christ in you if you have no compassion for the poor? For God has called us to reach out to the poor, to love the poor, to help the poor, to give to the “least of these.”
I was so convicted when I read this and I began to examine my own life. I began to search and cultivate my spirit. I began to look around me and look at all that God has blessed me with and all I could do was stand and say “Wow! I am so blessed. I have so much and I am not giving enough away.” No I don’t have a job and yes I am a poor college student but I still have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I still wear name brand jeans. I still drive a nice car that is paid off. I still am able to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure. And I am still able to do all of this while there are people in Africa, Haiti, and all around the world who are starving and dying from diseases because they don’t have access to clean water or soap. It breaks my heart. God has blessed me so that I can bless other people. What if I saved my 30 dollar pedicure and gave it to someone who needed it?
God didn’t give a little for us; he gave his BEST…HIS LIFE! Wow! True love requires sacrifice! And our love is shown by how we live our lives.
One of the clearest ways that we love is by giving to others…”For God so loved, that he gave.” Right here the connection between loving and giving is established.
I thought back on the story when Jesus fed the five thousand with a small boy’s lunch. Jesus gave the loaves to his disciples and told them to pass them out. What if they would have kept them for themselves and thanked Jesus for providing lunch for them? That would have been selfish and ridiculous when there was enough to feed thousands; even though there was only 5 loaves. This is so true in our lives. We are loaded down with too many good things, more than we ever need, while others are desperate for a small loaf. Even when we look at the bank account and it’s low, we still have an abundance. When the bills are due and we don’t have the money to pay, we still have enough. Don’t underestimate what God can do with an empty bank account or a busy life. If you will just give in love, watch what He will do.
2 Corinthians 8:13-15
Luke 12:33 “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”
The concept of downsizing so that others might upgrade is biblical, beautiful and almost unheard of. Dare to believe that those living in poverty are your brothers and sisters in need. Dare to believe it!
Matt 12:50 “Whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister, and mother.”
When its hard and you are doubtful, give more! Deuteronomy 15:10 “Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.”
When Jesus sent out his disciples he told them to take nothing with them- Luke 9:3 “take nothing for the journey- no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” Jesus was forcing his disciples to trust Him. God would have to come through for them because they had nothing else to fall back on.