“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as charitable as this? All comes of thee, and thine own have we given thee 1 Chronicles 29:14
I was in elementary school, family friends made the choice to leave the States for Kiev, Ukraine. The family of seven, including children my age, had to downgrade from a four-bedroom suburban home to an 800 square foot flat. That involves getting rid of a house full of clothes, toys, yard tools, furniture, dishes & a whole host of personal choices and “needs.” Each family member had the luxury of one big trunk as they progressed halfway around the world.
For this family, however, the joy of sharing the Gospel in a former USSR satellite nation outweighed all their assets. My dad inquired from his friend how he was handling the sudden “loss.” His answer was telling.
“Truly,” the new missionary replied, “this is the most liberate thing I’ve ever done.”
This family found an exceptional liberty far before I began to sniff it out. For me, this reorientation is coming gradually, helped along recently by a little book called The Treasure Principle. In it, Randy Alcorn uses a science metaphor to explain why our friends felt liberated rather than empty. He writes:
It’s a matter of basic physics. The greater the mass, the greater the grip that mass exerts. The more things we possess—the greater their total mass the more they grip us, setting us in orbit around them. Lastly, like a black hole, they pull us in.
Consider our greed that way – the more stuff, the more mass. The more mass, the greater its gravitational pulls. And the harder it is to escape.
Compare this to David’s exhilaration in 1 Chronicles. He is humbled not by how much God has blessed him with – but by how much God has allowed him to give away. The king of Israel, a center of the ancient world, found his happiness not in the palaces and the women at his disposal, but in the act of returning to God was rightfully God’s. How many of us can say the same?
We live in a carnal, material world. But we have the chance to resist its hold on us with every cent, toy, and “need” that comes our way. Are you ready?
Intersecting Faith & Life: I want to reacquire the joy of giving in a more reasonable way than ever before. As Alcorn puts it, “We give because He first gave to us” the most treasured gift of all. What departments, relations, or other realm cause is on your heart?