Last week, my friend celebrated her birthday. I’m sure you read about it, because over 12 THOUSAND people shared her words on facebook alone–myself included. When she posted the day before, about how they were going to blitz their town with gifts, that rumbling that I’ve been feeling beneath the surface lurched inside, and I felt the flush of the Spirit rising.
This. He said. This.
And I said, yes–this.
I bought the special edition bag from Freeset, not because I need another bag–Lord knows I don’t. I bought it because Freeset is a beautiful ministry for the broken women of Kolkata–past victims of sexual slavery, Freeset holds out a hand and helps these women to stand up, to live freely, to provide for their families. And so I bought a bag.
I guess that was the first of the 35 gifts.
Jesus’s commandment is that we love one another. This love is a verb. This love is lived in the doing, rather than simply feeling.
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8)
We are to be fruit-bearing believers–sources of nourishment for each other, and for the hungry wandering in the dark.
Salt, light, fruit–these are our calling. The greatest commandment is love–the greatest love we’ve ever known give himself up for us.
As imitators of Christ, then so shouldn’t we bend freely to give? Isn’t the very call of a Christian to spread arms with Christ and be stretched out of our comfort zone?
I can open my arms to strangers. I can give out of the gifts the Father has lavished on me.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants,for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15: 11-16)
Tomorrow, we carry with us 35 gifts for friends we haven’t met yet. We’ll spread our arms and bear fruit for Christ’s sake not because it’s easy or comfortable to do it, but because we are called to–because in obedience we find joy.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! (James 1:22 Msg)
Jesus calls us to go deeper–to cast our nets further out than we’re comfortable, to give more than feels reasonable. He tells us to give generously:
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.(2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
This service is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God–
Isn’t that what it comes down to? In giving, thanksgivings overflow?
I’m saying yes to this. I’m taking the challenge to Be the G.I.F.T.
Want to join me? My friend, Ann made a fantastic (printable) list of ways you too can Be the G.I.F.T.