We’re raising the bar on generosity, reminding ourselves to hold our possessions lightly and open-handedly. The challenge is to give away something that is precious to you, either in value or significance, being willing to surrender it for someone else’s benefit. In doing so, we are echoing David’s words to God in dedicating the temple: ‘everything comes from you’. (1 Chronicles 29:14)
Green: Start simply, by offering your prized possession of choice to someone in your wider family who values it as highly as you do.
Amber: Offer an object which is financially valuable but you have never liked. A charity that can sell it on would really benefit.
Red: Think of something that would pull at your heart to give away. Offer it first to God, asking him to deal with your feelings of attachment, then surrender it in exchange for his love and peace. Be wise in where you donate it.
‘But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”’ (1 Chronicles 21:24 NIV)
I popped in to our local dry cleaner on my way home from work and the (grumpy and sometimes rude) manager admired a brooch I had on my jacket which I explained had been a gift from one of our sons many years ago. It is in the shape of a seahorse, and the manager said how much his mother loves seahorses and he wished he could buy one for her. As I left I felt that I should give it to him, but didn’t, partly because I thought it would be weird and partly because I am quite fond of it.
However, the feeling didn’t go away, and about a week later I went in and explained that I felt God wanted me to give it to him, and that it wasn’t my generosity but the generosity of the heavenly Father who loves him very much. His eyes filled with tears and he came through the hatch to hug and thank me, but was reluctant to accept it. I explained that we are so, so grateful to God that we still have the son who gave it to me, as he nearly died some years ago, and that I don’t need the brooch as I have our son.
I am praying that he doesn’t think about me, but about the Father who wouldn’t let me forget his prompt.
God is interested in the real things of the heart. 1 Chronicles 21 shows us he doesn’t care much about sacrifices which cost us nothing, but he looks for those moments when we lay something on the line that really matters to us. Those moments show us if we truly have love at the core.