A Call to Sacrificial GenerosityDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 10:17-27 is one of those passages in the Gospels that makes most of us terribly uncomfortable. Like the man who asked Jesus how he might inherit eternal life, we also have “many possessions” (10:22). And if we’re honest with ourselves, we would not want to hear from Jesus what the unnamed man heard: “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (10:21).
Biblical interpreters are quick to point out that Jesus has not established a universal principle for all disciples here. In fact, among his close followers were people who supported Jesus and his disciples financially (Luke 8:1-3). They hadn’t given away all their money to the poor. Moreover, it would be wrong to conclude from this passage that eternal life comes through our actions and sacrifices. Indeed, the free gift of eternal life comes from God and his love poured out in Christ.
But, having found a way to blunt the sharp jab of this passage, we sometimes miss its clear call to sacrificial generosity. We who have so much—and that is the vast majority of us—ought to share it with those in need. As my father once said to me, “We need to give until it hurts, and then keep on giving until it feels good.” Joy in giving is part of the heavenly treasure offered.
If you’re one who struggles to give, this passage from Mark ends with good news: “Everything is possible with God” (10:27). Not only can God save our souls from sin and death, but he can also save us from selfishness and greed. If we allow God to touch our hearts, our fundamental values, and even our bank accounts, we will become people who freely share what we have been given.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Are you a generous and cheerful giver? Why or why not? In what ways do you struggle to share your possessions with others? What helps you to give away what you have?
PRAYER: I am so aware of how your grace saves me, not only from sin and death, but also from my selfishness and greed. Thank you, Lord, for the ways you work on my heart, helping me to learn to be generous. Keep on doing it, I pray. Teach me to share with others the bountiful gifts you have showered upon me.
While we can get so wrapped up in materialism, help your people to be generous, sacrificial, and, yes, even cheerful givers. May we give to the poor and to your work in this world. Help us to open our hearts and our wallets. This is possible for you, Lord. Please do it!
In the name of Jesus, your greatest gift, I pray. Amen.
Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype
When we think of “leadership” or “influence,” we often get the image of a person of arrogant swagger, always self-confidently willing to tell people what they ought to do. And we naturally find such an image unseemly. This is not the image of Jesus, the most influential person who walked the planet. Neither is it the image of those we truly admire and can name were the most influential people in our own lives. In this week's series at The High Calling, Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype, we feature stories of how people can be influential in ways that really matter.
Featured image above by Liga Eglite. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.