Giving Myself Away

“From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering” Exodus 25:2

Contrary to the world’s conception of giving, the above is the biblical base for giving. The world’s conception of giving in the church is derived from people who falsely profess to be Christian and who reject teaching from the Bible for their own material gain.

The Apostle Paul affirms the Old Testament teaching in 2 Corinthians 8 in reference to the churches in Macedonia, “For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing” (v 3). The reason behind their willing giving is given by Paul, “They first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God” (v 5).

Key here is that they first gave themselves to the Lord. This is where we may fall short and fail the test of faith by placing limitations on how much we will give to the Lord. In my first year of learning to walk with the Lord I came across the following and I believe it depicts accurately what Christian giving really is. It was written in the front cover of the Bible of teenager Elizabeth Alden Scott on August 3, 1925.

“My Covenant

Lord, I give up my own purposes and plans, all my desires, hopes and ambitions (whether they be fleshly or soulish), and accept thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to thee, to be thine forever.

I hand over to thy keeping all of my friendships, my love. All the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart.

Fill me and seal me with thy Holy Spirit. Work out thy whole will in my life, at any cost, now and forever.

‘To me to live is Christ and to die is gain’ Philippians 1:21

Why don’t you reread her covenant and pause to speak with the Lord Jesus. Tell him whether you will accept or reject this covenant as your own. Your carefully and prayerfully considered response from your heart will be a defining moment for now and eternity.

Of course, having made such a covenant you can expect the Lord Jesus to take you on a path to test your heart as to the genuineness of your desire. Then He will lead you to fulfilment. As for anyone walking with Jesus life will be anything other than what is expected. As He did with Israel (Exodus 24+), the Lord will deal with our heart relationship with Him first, not our behaviour. Behaviour is shaped by our heart, never the other way around.

Elizabeth (Betty) Scott Stam and husband, John, missionaries with China Inland Mission, were murdered in China by Communist revolutionary soldiers on 8th December 1934 when she was just 28 years old. Her baby girl was rescued. For more of her life story click the link below.

Biography: Elisabeth (Betty) Alden Scott Stam

Lord Willing

“He who does the will of God abides forever”  1 John 2:17

When people speak of the “will of God” they sometimes speak as though it were mystical and almost unknowable or that it is limited to the Ten Commandments. In some instances there may be a little truth in this but the Bible is jam packed with details concerning the will of God.

There are some very clear statements in the Bible concerning knowing the will of God, like: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” and “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:18).

Every command that God has given is an expression of His will and every description of the Divine Nature is an expression of God’s will concerning our attitudes and behaviour. Every description of the sinful nature also describes for us that which is not the will of God.

The difficulty may be that we are not interested in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and holy living but only in what He can do for us. How mercenary is that?  We would like to know other kinds of details, like career path, marriage partner, role in the church or ministry in the church. There is nothing wrong or unspiritual about wanting God’s will for these areas of our lives and we should seek His leading but we will not discover His will if we are not interested in Him as a Person.

One of the first things I learned about driving buses is that one cannot see where the bus is on the road by looking ahead. That only tells me where I am headed. Where I am is seen by also looking in the two rear view mirrors at the white lines painted on the road and/or curb.

The Bible gives us the forward view so that we can set our course but we must regularly check our rear view to observe where we really are in our walk with the Lord. This does not mean we go on a “witch hunt” for sin but make an honest and genuine appraisal of how we are travelling. If we are deviating off course we are better off noticing it sooner rather than later.

There are many aspects of the will of God that are not specifically given in the Bible. We may only see His will in hindsight. Oswald Chambers wrote, “The disciple who abides in Jesus is the will of God, and his apparently free choices are God’s fore-ordained decrees.”