This week, in our devotional, I [Ginny] encouraged you to think about the things that you would have difficulty giving up if God asked you to. I would be lying if I said that I would be whole-heartedly willing to give up everything right on the spot. I like comfort, I enjoy good food, watching cable television is a nightly ritual for me, and dear me, if God asked me to give up my yearly beach vacation, I would throw a huge hissy fit. Trust me, it wouldn’t be pretty.
Yet I know that all of those things are privileges and not necessities. I need to get to the point in my heart where I would be willing to drop the privileges to follow the call of God.
For those of us who are in progress (ahem, me!) in this area, I would like to suggest you start by giving and serving creatively. My husband and I have been doing this for some time, and I have noticed a profound effect on how I view my possessions and what I desire. My heart is changing, and as it does, I am closer to being able to say “God is ENOUGH.”
Creative giving/serving is taking an otherwise self-focused opportunity and making it a God-focused opportunity.
A few examples:
* On your birthday, take your age and do that many acts of random kindness. It might mean handing out water bottles with Scripture verses on them to people on your local walking trail. Maybe it is helping the elderly carry out groceries. My favorite easy random-act-of-kindness is paying for the coffee of the person behind me in the Starbucks drive-thru. If you have a lot of acts to cover, you could enlist your friends to help.
* Turn a holiday into one about giving instead of receiving. Several years ago, my husband came to me and told me about an idea to take the money we spend on gifts and a fancy dinner for Valentine’s Day and use that to help a family in need. We did just that and started a tradition of anonymous giving on an otherwise us-centered holiday. It is so much fun to dress up in our fancy outfits to eat at a fast-food restaurant that night instead! We now have hundreds of others joining us in this tradition, and we welcome you to join us, no matter what your relationship status or location is. You can find out more by following this link or visiting The Great Valentine's Day Give Facebook page.
* Add up how much you spend on personal “treats” each month. This could be your trip to the local coffee shop, desserts, massages (I wish!), etc. I have been Starbucks gold-card carrying customer for some time now (Yes, I like coffee!). What if I sacrificed the trip to the coffee shop, made my coffee at home, and gave that money to sponsor a child through Compassion or contribute toward a need of someone you know? It doesn’t take much to make a difference.
Now that creative giving is easier to do for us, we are entering the next stage of sacrificing even more to allow God to use us in whatever way He wants. I don’t know what that will look like yet for us or what it will look like for you. It might be small in the world's eyes or big. Whatever it is that God calls you to do or give, you need to be ready. For some, that might mean living in a hut in Africa. For others, it might be signing up to be a Big Brother/Sister to a child who needs a mentor or helping a local family fund its adoption. Perhaps you may be led to leave a high-paying job for one in a local ministry. I am always amazed at the stories of the founders of Online for Life. The men who run this incredible ministry that saves the lives of the unborn were executives with cushy jobs, but they gave that up, along with all of the benefits that come from those kinds of positions, because God was calling them to save lives in a new way.
Wherever you are in the process, I encourage you to start somewhere. Take a small step forward and do an act of kindness for a neighbor this week or offer to watch an overwhelmed mother’s children for her so she can have a few hours to breathe. Whatever that first step looks like for you, take it. Don’t make any more excuses. That small step will eventually turn into a leap and that leap will eventually turn into flying as God takes you on an incredible journey of learning to live less for you and live more for Him.