When you were young, you dreamed of the impact that you would have. The battles you would overcome, the triumphs to be celebrated, the inspiration you would provide. The legacy you would leave. You were fuelled with the deep down knowing, that you, (specifically you), had a part to play in the greater story. But somewhere along the way, that dream was corrupted. You felt the sting of rejection, the ache of disappointment. You saw little inspiration from those that had gone before. Don’t hope too large. Don’t dream too big they would urge. And so, you fall into line, keeping your dreams in check. You dedicate yourself to being obedient, dutiful and diligent. All things that help build a stable foundation for life. But for what? What’s the purpose?
Some years back I was watching “Secret Millionaire” – a reality TV program where a wealthy individual goes undercover and spends time with different people to understand their journey and heart. At the end, the wealthy benefactor reveals themselves as they sow into the life of a person in a game changing way. I switched the TV off. I sobbed. It was at a time when life was hard. Relationship betrayal, business was difficult and I felt like I was not making an impact. The cry of my heart was that God would use me to honour Him and bless others. The “facts” were that there was a significant expanse between my dreams and reality. The “facts” were that I felt broken, I was lost and did not know even where to start. But the Truth of God said that my life was ordained before the beginning of time, that He loved me intimately, that He had numbered the hairs on my head and engraved me on the palms of His hands. My life (and yours) are not an accident. We are born for a purpose far greater than ourselves. Our lives need more than duty, obedience and diligence. Our lives need hearts overflowing with love, vision, passion and possibility of what could be. What would our lives look like if we knew that we were an essential part of the body of Christ? What if we understood that we were destined to be impactful? Dangerous for good?
I believe that the church is the hope for the world. I can understand why people went to such great lengths to see Jesus, why they would rip a hole in the roof to lower their sick friend to be close, to be healed. The call to be sacrificially generous. To live in such a way that we forego things because of our generosity – the new car, the holiday, the home extension etc is a call for all of us. Jesus changes hearts. He changes our perspectives and what we live for. As our hearts are changed, living sacrificially generous permeates through our whole lives. Our finances, time and possessions. What you possess in this world should not define you. What you do with it does. Just like the servants in the Parable of the Talents. The servants weren’t defined by what they had, they were defined by what they did. The first servant was considered and extremely meticulous. He buried what was entrusted to him in such a way that no one else could find it. He buried it in such a way, where only he would know how to recover it. He wanted to avoid the pain of loss, but in so doing also lost the opportunity for growth. The second and third servants were entrusted with different amounts of resources, but their actions were the same. “At once”, they put what was in their hand to work.
The journey of sacrificial generosity starts now. It is just as applicable as if it’s the first “start” or if it’s the umpteenth “restart”. To be successful in any endeavour; we start small, start now and stay in rhythm. God’s response to the second and third servant were the same. “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Our ability to please God by putting to work what he has entrusted in us is not linked to any amount we return, but by our heart and actions. It is encouraging for those of us who believe we don’t have much, and sobering for those of us who understand we have been given much. As you embark (or re-embark) on this journey of sacrificial generosity you will see that:
“The heart of generosity is like a breath of fresh air.It is infectious. It overflows. It desires to be passed forward. It inspires. It breathes hope. It is available to all.”