This blog post is part of the series from the Spiritual Formation team walking through The Anatomy of a Disciple. This post will give you a brief snapshot of what it means to be Sacrificially Generous.
Everything starts in the core of being Humbly Submitted (center circle – our heart) and Biblically Formed (second circle – our mind), as God changes your heart and mind it affects the area of your will. One of those areas is the area of being Sacrificially Generous.
Jesus is always our model as we talk about discipleship. Ephesians 5:1-2 explains how Jesus is the starting point for us, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Mark 10:45 says it this way, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” So Jesus is our example of what it means to be sacrificially generous. We model Jesus. We are not our own, but we are Jesus (1 Cor 6:20). We understand that all we have is not ours, but Gods and it is our job to manage what he has given us (Matt 25:14-30). But if we are honest with ourselves we don't live like this. We have a hard time giving of our time, our money and our energy. We give to those who give back. There is a name for this thing that keeps us from giving our lives away to those around us. Consumerism.
Consumerism at its very basic is the idea that we need something else to satisfy us. Consumerism calls to us to purchase and pursue the next good or service to satisfy our ever growing need for more. Think Apple. We are The Well are big Apple fans. There is the iPhone. Macbook Air. iPod. iPad. Apple has done a masterful job through a great product and even better advertising creating a culture of desire and longing. Recently a 17 year old Chinese teenager sold his kidney to buy the latest generation of the iPad. This is consumerism. But lets be honest this creeps into our lives in so many ways. This consumerism holds us from being sacrificially generous with our time, talent and treasure. It holds us back from being an intentional blessing in the lives of those in the world.
So as we consider what it means to be Sacrificially Generous as a church we must begin to let go of "our stuff." We must let go of our time. We must let go of our talent (the gifts God has given us). We must let go of our treasure (money). Because of our passion for God's Kingdom and our example of Christ we will begin to be radical givers. We will live as the early church who “held all things in common” (Acts 2:44), and served as witnesses to their neighbors, co-workers, and people within the city. We do because this is what we are called to and because this is how the church is a pleasing aroma to the culture around (Acts 2:47).