Tuesday, May 5, 2009

inspired to give MORE

On Sunday morning, I was sitting in church before the service skimming through the book of Isaiah. I've been solely reading my Poverty & Justice Bible lately. I love the way they have the 2000(plus) verses highlighted, but also that it uses the Contemporary English Version. My previous Bibles were either NIV or NLT, so this new translation makes the Word really fresh for me.

Anyhow, the first verse that caught my eye was Isaiah 25:4a:

"You have been a place of safety for the poor and needy in times of trouble. "

I love that God has and will be a place of safety for the poor. I think the key, however, is that He uses us to minister to His children in need.

I started thinking about ways that I can be a blessing to those in need. I've come a long way in my giving. I honestly used to be pathetically selfish with my time, my resources and my money.

Every day, I find myself looking ways that I can invest in the lives of my family, my friends, my neighbors and my world. And yet, it just doesn't feel like enough.

My life is still comfortable. Too comfortable. I have so much excess that what I have shared with others I'm sure has blessed them, but sadly, it's been easy for me to do. It wasn't necessarily a sacrifice.

As I sat in church, I looked down at the jewelry I was wearing. I felt God challenging me to sell it and use the money to bless people in need. Crazy thought, huh?

Or is it? Francis Chan challenges us in Crazy Love to really take an honest look at ourselves and the choices we make in our lives. If the world "gets us," than are we really living lives that glorify our Creator?

And so, I told the Lord, "Yes. But since it is a bit unusual, could you please just give me confirmation that you want me to do this?" (Ha. The world still has a strong hold over me, I'm afraid!)

Right then, one of my dear friends came over and noticed me praying. She asked if I was alright and I told her I was trying to discern the Lord's will. She bent down, put her arms around me and prayed right then and there.

Less than three minutes later, our pastor started his message. Wouldn't you know, this was the verse he opened with:

"Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mark 10:21)

No kidding. I was so caught off guard that I only heard part of what he said next, but it was something that challenged us about the true value of silver and gold in comparison to the rewards God has for us in Heaven. Oh my. (Actually, I plan on listening to his message online just because it honestly felt like a lightening bolt straight from Heaven!)

I started to get excited thinking about all of the people God could bless through the money I received from selling my jewelry.

I then asked myself, "If I sold my jewelry, what other things in my home can I sell?" (Honestly, I was listening to your message, James!) The millions of things that I own but no longer use would be easy to sell. But, some of the others? Well, they would definitely hurt my flesh. A lot.

Do you want to know the really crazy thing? When I thought about giving things that actually hurt, a deep sense of joy came over me. I knew it was God's Spirit speaking to me, urging me on to take the plunge deep into the amazing world of "crazy love."

The next day, I received an alert from 5for50 asking for emergency donations in order to buy formula for infants starving in Ethiopia. Yes, my ring looks beautiful on my hand and it holds sentimental value. But, could I live with myself if I were in Ethiopia, standing at a baby's graveside, knowing that I could have done something to save his life?

Ethiopia Urgent Need

This world is nothing in comparison to the incredible future God holds for us. I want to pour out every single last bit while I am here. I don't want to regret a single moment or a single choice.

I know my choices will differ from yours, my Friend, and that's good. God created us to be unique. What a boring world this would be if He didn't!

But, I would like to lay the question before you. Is God calling you to give a little more? What are some practical ways you can respond to Him today? Are you willing to up the ante, even a little bit more tomorrow? Can you continue finding ways to give until it actually starts to hurt?

I promise you that it will be worth every last drop of blood, sweat and tears. I know it was for our Savior. It is for Him and because of Him that I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

P.S. 963 Coffee Giveaway is still going on! Please spread the word. :-)

Making the plunge,

5 comments:

Charlene said...

Oh, Amy, my heart aches when I hear these words. A good ache, a longing. I feel God encouraging (pulling?) me to that place, too. I walk through my house on a daily basis looking for things to get rid of, to simplify, to give away...I'm not good at selling, but giving, I'm there! I use to laugh that God blessed us for me to buy clothes and then decide to give them away. Our church talked about living sacrificially this weekend to experience God's miracles. He actually said something to the effect of big houses, cars, camps... OUCH!(sound familiar?) Cut me to the quick, especially with our renovations... I really don't want them, I want to give.

emily said...

Oh Crazy Love continues to rock my world-- we are going to do the DVD's with a few other couples starting next week and I can't wait.

Great post!!

Wendy said...

It's so cool to have found someone that loves Crazy Love as much as I do. Also, God is stretching me with giving (this has never been an easy one for me). You inspire me every time I read your blog. Every time!!!
~ Wendy

Anonymous said...

Ouch! That post hurts because it is stepping on my toes. I am in the midst of "Crazy Love" and have been feeling so overwhelmed with our "stuff'.
Beth

Amy Savage said...

Amy!!

Awesome post. I found your blog through Tom Davis'blog and love it!

I just posted virtually the same post the other day on my own blog about our comfort. I know that God isn't nearly as concerned about our comfort as we are. In fact, I'm praying that God continues to move me to crave discomfort! And I love that you were contemplating selling your ring. God so honors hearts like yours.

Crazy Love is totally rocking my world as well. This idea of living with an eternal perspective because of God's love for me is huge. I'm about 100% certain we're not going to be needing our jewelry (and whatever other earthly possesions we hold dear) in heaven. But oh, to see these sweet babies who need formula now in heaven! Now THAT is something worth sacrificing for.

Loving giving til it hurts with you,
Amy