Giving From a Sacrificial Heart or Out of Surplus

I have been reflecting in recent times about whether we as followers of Jesus give of our time, money, energy to God’s mission in the world sacrificially or do we give out of our own surplus. Sacrifice is defined as a giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance. We have all read that throughout American history, many people sacrificed their lives, vocations, time, money, and comfort for our country and times of crisis, especially during World War II.

It seems people love to give generously in economically prosperous times but I contend that the economic markets should not impact our heart and living generously and sacrificially to be able to share God’s love to a broken and bruised world. Being generous with what God has given us is not merely a matter of the size of our bank accounts or income but an issue of the heart. Remember how Jesus responded to the woman who gave just a few coins?

I believe we as the church must see that we face numerous crises in the world: poverty, hatred, injustice, and people separated from God. We must look at ways to sacrifice (give up something) so that others may know of God’s love and goodness. I don’t know what that means for you, but I am examining this issue for myself.

I pray God leads you as you sacrifice and give more of yourself to Him and your time, treasure, and talents to His Kingdom. A Franciscan Blessing that I hope encourages and challenges you:

“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.”

Joel Vestal
February 2009

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