Compelled To Give
When we consider the gift we have received so undeservedly, it changes us, it humbles us, it reminds us of our desperate need.
One of the most quoted verses in the Bible allows us to peer intently into the heart of God. Let’s take a look at John 3:16, you could probably quote it from memory. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Through the gift of Jesus, God has given us the gift of life eternal! A life that He already experiences but desires for us to experience as well. Later in John (10:17-18) Jesus makes it clear that He willingly gave His life, no one took it from Him. Why would Jesus do something, give something, that would cost Him so dearly when He led a life that in no way required a sacrifice for sin?
Before we explore this text, I am reminded of an interview with Will and Jada Smith. Will was sharing some childhood experiences and lessons that he learned from his father. One that stood out to me was a lesson that his father taught Will and his siblings at an early age. Will’s father wanted his children to understand how important it was that everyone contributes to their family for the sole purpose of helping the family, not just themselves. He wanted them to understand that being a part of a community, reaping the benefits of being in community, requires a contribution to that community. As I pondered that I soon realized that is a concept we are losing and is being replaced by “what do I get out of this?” Something to think about for sure.
Now, as we consider these verses in 1 & 2 Corinthians, may we have a slightly different perspective. Paul is asking the people in Corinth to thoughtfully consider setting aside a portion of their wealth for the benefit of the Believers in Jerusalem. We know that first-century followers of Jesus experienced much persecution and yet also experienced incredible blessing as they cared for those in their community. Paul’s desire to nurture and promote this care speaks to us as believers today.
So how does the cross compels us to be people who give? First, we must look to the cross, we must gaze intently at the man on the cross. Why is He there? In answering that question we begin to realize the depth of the gift of Jesus, the magnitude of the gift, and the extravagant cost of the gift. When we consider the gift we have received so undeservedly, it changes us, it humbles us, it reminds us of our desperate need. Out of that awareness, we are now compelled to give in the same way! When is the last time you or I have given a gift that could compare? A gift that was sacrificial and costly, a gift that blessed the community, not necessarily myself? What a blessed opportunity we have to partake in the nature of God, to put on display the character of the One who gave so much when we also seek opportunities to sacrificially give.