Give It All Away

Hello, internet.

My fast is going well. I’ve either completely skipped lunch, or kept to rice and beans. I’ve kept to Daniel Fast friendly foods for dinner. And milk and oatmeal for breakfast. The first day was kind of hard. I worked from home, had a small portion of my rice and beans then a few hours later felt like I was starving to death.

Anyway, that has all mostly passed. I’ve read my one year Bible every day so far and stuck with my devotions. But the thing I enjoy most and kind of dread the most is talking to God. I enjoy it, but I also always feel like I just don’t have anything important to say. I don’t know, it’s been weird.

Overall though, it’s been pretty easy so far. I almost feel like 21 days is too short. Though I could kill for a Mountain Dew at any time.

Anyway, this is teaching me a lot about sacrifice. And the phrase that I keep sticking with is that We Give Up Things We Love For Things We Love Even More.

I love putting it that way because it makes it seem a lot less intimidating. It’s less something hard and ridiculous, and more… obvious.

Today I had one of those moments. I was driving home from church, and parked out on the street was a beautiful all black, fully tricked out, version of my favorite sports car in the world. It was beautiful. It was the second one I saw today, and on the drive home I felt like I saw thousands of them everywhere, but it was probably more like 7. For some reason, everywhere I looked I saw them. Everywhere.

So when I looked at this black one, I had an immediate thought. I thought about the check I forgot to write and bring to church. And I thought to myself, I could half what I give and easily make the payment on that car. I should get one. I started, again (because this has always been a common struggle), trying to talk myself into spending more money on me and buying even shinier and cooler things I really don’t need.

But I got to thinking about it, and you know what? In 25 years that car is going to be nothing but scrap metal. I love that car, and if that makes me a terrible person, well I was already one to begin with — but there are some things I love more.

I love, love, love sending kids to camp. Because I believe that some kids are going to have a lightbulb turn on, and in 25, 30, 40 years they will look back and they may forget the names and exactly what was said, but they will look back on this weekend as the weekend that something happened. Something changed in their life and in their heart of hearts.

I love my church and more importantly, I love that it’s a place where people who have been hurt, even by churches, can come and bump into Jesus. That there is a place where people can come and hear that God doesn’t hate you, but he really loves you and cares about you.

I love Youth for Christ. I love how they are telling tens of thousands of kids all over this world that there is hope. That they matter, because they really do matter to God.

I love and YouVersion and all that it takes to bring the Bible to tens of millions of people all over the world, and even in places where the Bible is forbidden. I know people individually that have had their eternities changed because of them. And I am so thankful for the wisdom, courage and foresight it took to build and how they are leading the way to say it is ok to be generous and to be crazy and to dream big dreams and do big things that nobody else is doing.

I love Compassion International. I love that there are kids in far flung and long forgotten parts of the world that would have died if they weren’t involved. I love that thousands of kids get letters from people they don’t even know telling them about a God who doesn’t hate them but loves them.

And I love Musana. I love that there are kids who have been rescued from a terrible situation, and they’re now getting love and food and education. I love that in a place that most people would have left and said, “I can’t do anything”, that they did not.

I love it all. I love it because it is making a real difference in real people’s lives. I love it because while any new gadget or car or anything else will end up in the trash heap after a few years, the impact all of the above are making will last for decades and will ripple through generations and eternity. This matters.

And so while I would very much love to have a new car, my car is running fine and I love far more the tiny part I play in what God is doing in this world.

I would rather give up something I love — new toys, new cars, new houses, whatever — for something I love far more: being a part of what God is doing in the world.