Give It To Jesus
February 11, 2022 | Doug Dunnavant
"We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters." (1 John 3:16)
Giving is difficult for many in our culture. We hold on so tightly to what we have thinking we know what’s best for it. We cling to things that we see as valuable: money, time, resources, energy, our work, etc. We think that by holding on to these things we are strengthening ourselves, but holding on to what you have is not strengthening anyone. It’s just sustaining what already is. If I asked whether you wanted your life, your situation, your relationships to improve, we would all probably answer YES. Things might be going well for you right now, but you know it can always get better.
God wants our lives to be strengthened, and one way He does this is when we give it away. Who is our example? Jesus. And what did Jesus give to others? His own life!
You think you could do that? Lay down your life for others? And not just others, those who are your enemy, those who hate you, those who don’t even know you! That’s a hard thing to answer, and you may not be quite there yet, but you can start to move in that direction. See, we will never be able to give our lives for others if we can’t even give them the simple things of life. If we can’t give them half-an-hour of our time, our full attention, or a kind gesture, we will never get to the point of laying down our lives. If we can’t give them what we have, and they need, then we know where we should start.
When I think about what God can do with our sacrificial giving, I can’t help but think about the 5,000 being fed in John 6. There Jesus sees the growing crowd that is following Him, and He looks to His disciples and asks how they could feed them. Philip was like, “Look, to get each person even just a little bread, it would take $300! Which we don’t have!” So, they looked around the crowd to see what they could find, and “all” they could find was a little boy who had five loaves of bread and two fish.
Now think about it…out of the whole crowd of 5,000-plus people, there was only one person who had food?!? I have to imagine there were many moms in the crowd who had packed snacks for their families! Surely there were men who had their Jewish Hungry Man Meals with them. Everyone is kind of hiding what they brought, unwilling to hand it over. See, this was not just a test of faith for the disciples, but for the crowd as well. Who among this crowd is willing to give all that they have with them? Just one little boy. The problem with their thinking, and sometimes our own, is we believe that when we give to God, we lose something. Sure, there may be an initial loss, but God always has a plan and is always there to strengthen us. When Paul felt like he didn’t have enough, like he didn’t have what he needed, remember what the Lord said to him:
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God excels at taking what we give, what we hand over for His work, for His plan, for His people, and doing amazingly impossible things with it.
You see, when we give to the Lord, He not only continues to provide, He will also bless your life. What are we keeping to ourselves? What are we holding on to that God is asking us to surrender?
If you have placed your trust and hope and life in the sacrifice of Jesus, the gift that He so freely gives, you may think that it’s a done deal. Mission accomplished. All I do now is go to church, read some Bible, and if I’m really bold, join a Small Group. Oh no! That’s just an extremely basic understanding of what you’ve come in to. See, when you surrender your life (just think about that…your life…all of you), you are now in a relationship with the One Holy, Awesome, Righteous God! And He wants to begin a journey of faith with you. And just like for the disciples, the most meaningful lessons found in this relationship are not during a Sunday morning message, or during a Bible study, but in regular moments in life.
Jesus turns to the disciples and says Guys, we have a problem. What are we going to do? God may be asking you something similar. There’s a problem in your marriage. What are we going to do? There’s struggle in your family. What are we going to do? You have fear and doubt and worry. What are we going to do? There are going to be countless difficulties and struggles throughout this journey, and God is going to ask us, “What are we going to do?” What should our response be?
Well, what did we learn? When we have a struggle, a difficulty, that impossible challenge set before us, we give it to Jesus. We don’t stubbornly hold on to it. We don’t try to make it work with what we have. We give it to Jesus. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Last Friday Night at the Family PJ Party, we were able to celebrate the donation of over 80 sets of pajamas for children in foster care and children who have come from very difficult situations. Some might look at those pajamas and say, “That’s nice. You’re going to make some kids feel really good.” But God says, “I’m going to take these pajamas, and I am going to eternally change the trajectory of my children. A whole family legacy is going to be interrupted by the power of Jesus’ name!” I’m certain the disciples thought there was no way they were going to feed the more-than-5,000 people with the five loaves and two fish. I’m sure the little boy didn’t think he was giving much to Jesus, but God took his obedient gift and made a miracle. We need to continue to hand over all of ourselves to the Lord! Give to Him that which He is asking of you, and watch what He does!
For His Glory!
Pastor Doug Dunnavant