Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sacrificial giving...

...is there any other way?
I'm reminded of the story of the widow who gives only a little bit of money in the temple, but in the Lord's eyes, that is much. Jesus argues that the widow has given the most because the rich may have given from their surplus, and have not sacrificed anything, yet the widow has sacrificed greatly. She has given "even all her living", suggesting that she may not have money for food.

I could sit back and say, "I have a lot on my plate now. I have to focus on my family." Etc. Etc. Ad Nauseam. Me Me Me. This might be true, and yes, it has its place. But giving when I sacrifice something? Is much greater in the Lord's eyes. He appreciates me giving when it is convenient for me, or when it doesn't take that much sacrifice or energy. But when it takes all I've got? To the point when it seems impossible? It is greater in His eyes.

11 comments:

Dorit said...

Your posts are always so interesting.
I was thinking about this earlier today.
What about when the choice is not between me and "others", but between my children and others?
That is when things become complicated, I think. When is my focus on my children becoming selfish and when is it the right sacrifice.
I sometimes wonder, did the woman in the temple have children that would suffer because of her sacrifice ...

Andrea said...

That is interesting Dorit. I do think focusing on our children can be so selfish to where we are blinded by others' needs. There is that element of our children being all about "Us". Can be a dangerous place. Do i make sense?
That's when we trust God for their needs and be obedient to Him if we feel called to minister to others.Often it is such simple things, but we need to get out of the way of ourselves to accomplish it.
Thanks for your input.

Dorit said...

You make perfect sense, Andrea :) I appreciate your reply. I agree with you that we can be selfish in our focus on our children, but I also think there is a danger in focusing so much on others that we forget our first responsibility - our own children. On the other hand my children also need input from others and I am also called to serve others, so ... I'm still thinking :)

Andrea said...

I guess it's important to find that balance? I 'm not so sure "parenting" is my highest calling....it's obeying the Lord. Now what that looks like day to day...well that's a work in progress.
Sometimes, though, it's the little things. I can still minister to others and still have a family. Maybe that means talking to a friend about a problem instead of doing dishes. And to me, that is sacrifice. Or making a meal for another mother when I myself am super busy. Like I said, a work in progress and just thinking aloud.

Appreciate the dialogue, Dorit!

Dorit said...

Very interesting! I totally follow you, but you're putting into words thoughts that I may not even have allowed myself to think. Thank you!
I need to look more into this.

Natalie said...

Just had to say that I grapple with this, too! I am learning to appreciate who God made me to be and to honor that temperament and at the same time I am learning that He is still calling me to minister to other sacrificially. It is a balance I am looking and thinking about more carefully these days.

Anonymous said...

Andrea, I agree and am thoughtful about all that you have said. Even little things....reaching out encouraging, being an administrator from home (me), having children over. Just be careful. I have hit walls of exhaustion (manageable with my husband home on weekends)...but just be careful because little ones do need so much. mbb

Andrea said...

thank you Mary Brooke, you're right.
i guess it's more of a mindset, too? I truly believe His burden is easy and light and He also calls us to minister to others.....so if He is truly calling me to do it, then it will be easy and light. If not, well, then maybe it's not the time for it. =)

jandronicus said...

I think these are difficult issues to "answer" because the Lord speaks to each one of us. Giving, when it seems impossible to give more, is often for me, the act of a kindness to my children, instead of impatience. Sometimes it's easier for me to give to others, than to carry out the simple, mundane acts in the home with love.
However, I also want my children to be others-centered. So, when an opportunity presents itself to serve others outside the home, I've been trying to bring them on board. I'm hoping then, they don't view the act as "mommy is busy, again," but that, as a family "we're serving," even when it takes sacrifice. For instance, when company comes, "Let's clean up, so ... feels comfortable at our home," vs. mom is a crazy lunatic again b/c company is coming. Or . . . having an older child care for a younger as an act of service so that mom can make a meal for others. This way it doesn't take us away from our children, but involves them in giving, when it's not convenient. Just last night, we received a surprise call from someone needing childcare, and thankfully my children were able to change gears and focus on serving them and making sure they had a good time. All this being said, we must walk by the Spirit, and give as He leads us. It sounds so trite, but I really believe it. The needs around us are overwhelming, at times. There are so many hurt and needy people. Only God can make our path clear. My husband is also very valuable in helping me with this. He is more able to see my limitations than I am.

Anonymous said...

Andrea I didn't mean to be too short. This is definately a reminder I need on a regular basis because I have the privilege of making decisions on how to "number our days aright. I can see, as an example of how we could give a great deal of energy and time in one day to host another family over for dinner. For mutual christian encouragement and also because we are called to exhibit hospitality and spend time in relationships where we can eventually share our faith. We could do this instead of running around too much for our own fun things. Like you said, it must all be Spirit led so that the burden is light. I have made so many meals for others and been so tired as a result...also our life is very simple yet we do basic chores until to late every night. It's something for us to pray about and I really see your point.
Mary Brooke

Andrea said...

i know you do, MB! =)
It's a careful decision, to be sure--in examining our energy and time...
This post was mainly for myself--to sort out my own thoughts--which i tend to do a lot on here..
but i've really enjoyed the input from everyone....