Thankful Giving

I recently have been reading through Ephesians and there is a section in that passage that talks about how husbands should love their wives. Paul states that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. It was then that I started pondering, “How did Christ love the church?” What were the lengths that He had gone to show how much He loves her? I think that obvious answer was that He loved her so much that He gave up His life for her. Everyone knows that. I started thinking, though, about myself. I am single right now, but how am I preparing myself to be the kind of husband that Christ is for His bride? What does that mean?

It means giving my self fully to another with thankfulness and that is something that God has been really refining in my heart. I then started thinking about how selfish I really am and how even in friendships I don’t naturally think about the other person. No, my natural tendency is to be selfish, and that’s not what God has been revealing to me is the Christ-life. It is pretty easy to say with our mouths that we want to live a Christ life, but it’s actually quite a hard task.

 

Think about this:

“And someone came to Him and said, ‘Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?’ And He said to him, ‘Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’…The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.” (Matt 19:16-17,20-22) 

If I am honest with myself, I think I would be walking away grieving as well. In this day, we have so much stuff, and our world pushes to have more and gain the latest things – and yet our economy is failing. We spend our money on things that will eventually dissatisfy us while our neighbor is starving physically and spiritually. Giving to the poor did not bring salvation but brought treasure in heaven. I need to look past the temporary and see things in light of eternity.

This means that it’s not just about giving our earthly possessions but about giving our time to others as well. Christ gave his disciples time. He loved them and built relationship with them. This is another area where God has been revealing to me my selfishness. We are to love our “neighbor” as ourselves. The word “neighbor” literally means “the person right next to you.” How do I love the person standing right next to me? The answer can be something as big as spending years getting to know someone to bring them to Christ or allowing another to jump ahead in line at the grocery store. Everything should be seen in light of Christ.

There are to be boundaries of course. He says to love them as you love yourself. It doesn’t show me love to have someone screaming down my ear or to have someone “self-sacrifice” when I can tell they don’t really want to do it. There needs to be wisdom in how this giving of myself is done.

Christ loves His bride and sacrificed everything so that she may be with Him. He gave away life in heaven to be on earth. He gave time to those around Him. He gave His life so that all may come into relationship with God. He was sacrificed so that love may triumph over His bride. I think that is what thankful giving looks like, and may I never become too prideful to not give up some time or possessions to share the gospel of my God!

 

Ryan Thomason has been around Transform Student Ministries for many years. Ryan is a former Boot Camper, Staffer, and Intern.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it!
Icon Icon Icon

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required