I was invited to go on Moody Radio last week to participate in Share 2017.
Frankly, I was dreading it.
See, this year, I’d decided that I wouldn’t give. I even wrote it down in my journal. And nothing was going to change that.
It’s not that I have anything against giving. I’m all about giving – especially when it’s in favor of my stuff. But this year, “my stuff” had been suffering.
This year I’d noticed a huge drop in the giving towards my own ministry and medical work with Syrian refugees. What I’m really trying to say but am almost embarrassed to confess is that since January 2017 I’d seen less than $500 come into our entire donation fund.
And I was hating it.
Why had God allowed our well to go so dry?
I’d done more than my share to raise awareness of our work and non profit status: social media blasts, an awesome video summary of our work in Lebanon, prayer, faith, hope. I’d done it all and still…nothing.
Why would God hold back from me in a work that seemed to be so Him?
After hashing it out with God, I’d resolved to stop giving towards “other” ministries and start giving towards my own stuff. I would just re-allocate resources away from one thing towards my thing. If God wouldn’t raise up a village to help support my thing, I concluded, I might as well start building my village myself.
My decision felt safe and I was 100% behind it.
When I got to Moody I was ready. I took my seat across from Karl and June and I started talking.
I talked about how God honors those who give.
I talked about the joy of giving.
I talked about how to overcome the fear of giving and how giving is our tangible expression to tell God how much we love him.
And the more I talked the worst I felt.
I was a hypocrite – and beneath my veneer of religiosity was a raging spiritual battle.
Did I believe God and His word, or did I trust me more?
Was I willing to come to God on His terms, even if those terms were far different than mine? Or was I trying to manipulate God into my own terms?
Did I really worship God, or had I simply reverted to using God to make my things happen?
Here I was on air with a choice to make: would I succumb to my fears or would I dive into the waiting arms of Jesus?
By God’s grace I did the only thing I could do.
To the average listener tuning in that morning the spontaneous challenge I gave to match every $1000 with a thousand of my own might have sounded like the whim of a rich doctor with extra money to throw around because I had it.
The average listener would have been dead wrong.
To the Holy Spirit of God the truth was a bit more obvious. I had looked at my own despicable heart and dismal circumstances and chosen to believe – even at great risk for myself and my dreams.
In Luke 9:24 Jesus says “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
The stunning truth of Christ’s words is this: that the greatest antidote to protecting ourselves from danger is not in increasing our safety and comfort. The greatest antidote to protecting ourselves from danger is to give it all to Jesus.
Even when it doesn’t make sense.
Even when you don’t see the answer right away.
Ironically, in the last week since my radio challenge, I haven’t received any big checks in the mail. In fact, God has seen fit to invite me to join him on a couple more of His unexpected endeavors. It ain’t cheap to follow Jesus!
But I’ve noticed that each time I say yes it gets easier.
And each time I say yes His presence gets sweeter.
I think a part of us secretly hopes that if we give God everything that He’ll somehow see the great sacrifice we’ve made and will show his appreciation to us with a small return – preferably financial but other forms of blessings will do too.
The truth is far better.
The truth is that the only way to safety is through surrender. Let it go – your expectations, your discontent, your fear. The cure to your aching heart is not in building higher walls of self protection but in giving everything to Jesus.
Are you struggling with your fear? Are you holding on to your unmet expectations? Are you wondering where God is?
Are you looking for a safe and comfortable life?
Perhaps it’s time to surrender.
This 40 DAY DEVOTIONAL will encourage you to free fall over the edge of safe living into the welcoming arms of Jesus Christ.