(Luke 12: 48b)
“….From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.”
I have been thinking a lot recently about the nature of sacrifice. There are many things in our society that are experiencing upheaval as a result of the Corona Virus Pandemic.
Sacrifice is something almost everyone is now having to consider.
You can’t think about sacrifice without coupling it with true generosity.
True generosity is the liberal giving of one’s possessions, abilities, influence and personal assets to serve the interests of others.
In a world that has become increasingly self-centered and insensitive it seems that many have lost the desire to give and the willingness to sacrifice.
C.S. Lewis wrote this about Christian giving:
“The limit of giving is to be the limit of our ability to give.”
Certainly you have heard people called “givers” and “takers”.
When we hear those descriptions we need no further explanation. We know exactly what is meant and know what kind of person fits into each category.
“Takers” are the human version of a squirrel.
Their cheeks are puffed out with so many acorns that they have become three times their normal size.
Are you an “owner” or a “steward”?
Nothing truly belongs to us!
Everything belongs to God!
At the height of his power in the early years of the 20th century, John D. Rockefeller, was America’s 1st Oil Baron. It has been said that he possessed 1 out of every $30 in the entire U.S. economy. In today’s numbers that is 10 times greater than the wealth of Bill Gates.
Upon his death, in 1937, a cartoon was circulated that asked a question that became the subject of national attention.
How much did he leave? The answer, of course, was simple. He left it all!
One of the most riveting stories of this past century is one that involves Christian missions.
Over 50 years ago a team of 5 missionaries endeavored to reach for Christ a fearsome tribe in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon basin, known as the Auca’s.
On an exploratory trip they dropped gifts to the tribe members from their bright yellow, Piper Cruiser. They then built a base for themselves a short distance from the Auca settlement.
One day a small group from the tribe appeared and acted friendly and welcoming. The missionaries even gave a tribesman they called George an airplane ride. The missionaries seeing an opening to build a relationship with the people mapped out a strategy to start visiting the village.
Without warning or provocation, however, a large group of Auca men came into their base camp and attacked them and within minutes all 5 men were brutally murdered.
They were killed by the very people they were trying to reach with the love of Jesus.
The response of the family members of the 5 men was even more astonishing than the efforts of those who lost their lives.
The family members actually returned to continue the mission of their loved ones and some actually lived among the very people who had killed their family member.
The Aucas, now known as the Waodani Indians, received the family members and eventually the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The story of the Indian conversion is told in the compelling movie “The End Of The Spear.”
One of the missionaries who was savagely killed, Jim Elliot, kept a journal filled with insights.
He wrote a statement that captures the essence of sacrifice.
“He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.”
Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian all died violently but they did not die needlessly.
They were not fools but rather those who had their eyes on that which is eternal not temporal.
They in fact gave what they could not keep to gain what could never be lost!
Can you hear God calling you to generosity!
Instead of holding back, why don’t you trust God and His Word and give?
Our generosity should be a habit … not a happenstance!
There are many challenges in the world today.
It takes extraordinary acts of generosity to meet extraordinary challenges.
To whom much is given, much is required!
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