And now, a challenging excerpt from Crazy Love by Francis Chan,
Remember the story where Jesus fed thousands of people with one boy's small lunch? In that story, according to Matthew, Jesus gave the loaves to His disciples and then the disciples passed them out to the crowd. Imagine if the disciples had simply held onto the food Jesus gave them, continually thanking Him for providing lunch for them. That would've been stupid when there was enough food to feed the thousands who were gathered and hungry.
But that is exactly what we do when we fail to give freely and joyfully. We are loaded down with too many good things, more than we could ever need, while others are desperate for a small loaf. The good things we cling to are more than money; we hoard our resources, our gifts, our time, our families, our friends (Chan 120).
Wow. I cannot begin to tell you (my loyal reader, singular) how challenging this particular idea is for me right now. We live in a self-centered world where the key objective is attaining our own pleasure. We desire a good (and don't forget, fulfilling/personally rewarding) job that pays well, so we can buy the nice home, car, etc. and go on exotic vacations, eat (far too much) gourmet food, drink fine wine, wear designer clothes, pay top dollar for entertainment (sporting events, concerts, etc.)...the list is never-ending.
To relate it to the parable and make it even a little simpler, how many times have you dumped leftovers in the trash? Or continued to eat far past fullness because there wasn't anyone else's hunger to satisfy? God has blessed us with much, so that in turn, we can bless others. Who do you need to invite to your banquet table? If you don't normally have guests for dinner, it could be as simple as opening your home up to friends, neighbors or family that lives nearby. You don't have to wait until you can buy new furniture, or make sure the baseboards are clean, or pull out the fine china. I guarantee your guests will not care, or even notice. Get out of your comfort zone and make yourself uncomfortable. Do it today, tomorrow, or every day for a week and expect nothing in return.
However, as the passage states, we not only hoard our superfluous amounts of money, but we also are incredibly selfish with our "resources, our gifts, our time, our families, our friends." I've typically tried to be fairly transparent and honest on my blog (despite the very public nature), so you should know I find this to be particularly convicting, because I seem to prefer an excessive amount of "chill time" for myself. I like alone time and want to read, nap, work on my laptop, watch my Food Network shows (scoff if you will, but it could be worse), and so on. I am a huge hoarder of my time. Instead of being a Christian (which my friend, means to be "like Christ"), I continually put my interests above those around me. This is totally backwards, and not at all "like Christ." We are to give Him all our time, and then allow Him to orchestrate what we do with it.
It begs the question, if I were to die tomorrow, what would I be known for? What would those around me say I held to be most important? Would it be relationships, or would it be "getting enough sleep"? Would it be serving others, or would it be my uncanny ability to relax? What do I need to cut back on, or eliminate in my life in order to allow God to use me in the lives of others? Do I need to turn off the TV? Do I need to close the screen on my laptop?
What do you want to be known for?