From Luke Chapter 9
23 And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"
I was purposefully misleading in titling this post. Many bloggers hold "giveaways" on their blogs. I've never hosted a giveaway. I'm not entirely sure of their purpose but I'm sure I'll give it a try at some point. It might be fun.
The scripture above is one that I heard many sermons on throughout my life as a Believer. I often wrestled with understanding this passage, and specifically verse 24. It says "whoever would save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it".
I always interpreted this scripture as saying "if anyone loves his life and tries to preserve it, God will kill him off early but whoever doesn't care about living a long life will get one". Ahhhhh . . . the doctrinal musings of a child . . .
I was completely off base in my interpretation and it was not until adulthood that I really understood, with some clarity, the purpose of this passage.
Jesus is telling us to give our lives away for the sake of His kingdom. He is telling us not to love life so much as to be attached to this world and unwilling to walk away from the things therein if He should request it. In light of our family's aim toward moving to The Philippines for ministry, this passage has taken on new vibrancy for me.
Not only am I not afraid of "losing my life" . . . I am aching to give it away! I'm literally burning inside to shake off the possessions, the comforts, the familiar, the safeguards, the predictability and the prosperity for a new thing.
Maybe that's how we know we are truly called and not just hopeful for an adventure. The fear has given way to another tide.
I am no longer afraid for my children and their safety. Nor for my own physical health.
It is slightly less hurtful to think about the family and friends that we will say "goodbye" to. Less but still present.
I am pained when I realize it may take months (or a year) for us to be boarding the plane. I wish it were sooner... And I hate to fly.
The best part of trying to give this life away is that I know even the very desire to do just that is from the Lord. It has nothing to do with our goodness as people, our clean living or Bible knowledge. It is just HIM, doing what He does best - using the weak, paltry, handicapped redeemed to do His work.
THIS is how onlookers will know any good thing that comes from our ministry is God and not people. "We are weak but He is strong" just like the song "Jesus Loves Me" conveys.
I know it will be hard and I idealize the "big giveaway" because I am writing about it from the starting line. I sit in my lovely air conditioned home, with a glass of sweet tea and a belly full of lunch, with my children all nearby and a spirit bolstered by a challenging sermon at Potter's Hand Bible Church this morning.
I am not sick. I am not sweltering. I have not been robbed recently or had to pray for funding to come in so we could eat, travel, serve or pay rent. I have not been double crossed by those who promised to help us nor have I been the subject of disparaging talk in places we had hoped to make inroads.
Those things are coming. You know how I know?
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around seeking someone to devour.
THAT'S how I know.
Have you experienced The Big Giveaway in your own life? Was it through adoption? Missions? Opening your home to the needy? Supporting a ministry in a sacrificial way? Laying your life on the altar and truly, genuinely not caring much about the outcome as long as the will of God is the chief end?
I would love to hear from you! Private email. A phone call if we know each other in "real life". A comment on the blog or facebook if you're willing.
I am longing to hear from fellow Believers who took a leap with reckless abandon and landed where they knew God was pointing. Were the bitter parts REALLY made sweet along the way? It's rumored they are.
The Body of Christ . . . no place I'd rather be!
The people of God . . . my inspiration!