Have you ever thought about what Christ actually gave up to give us new life? We often talk about Christ and the sacrifice He made to give us life but we are often totally unaware of other deeper things that happened. When He came down to us, He gave up everything that was usual for Him. He gave up the power at His disposal. He walked away from everything he knew even if it was for a while, that we may be reconnected to God and have eternal life.
Phil 2:5-8 gives us some insight into this.
5 …have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
He was in very nature God, He didn’t think this to be something to be used to his advantage, He made Himself nothing, took on the nature of a servant (some versions say bond servant) and became like us. Can you imagine what this means? He left all his special abilities in heaven and became a human. He let go of a very deep level of communication with God for a more surface one. He was tempted, denied, abused, beaten yet he endured it and did not call down fire to destroy His tormentors. He carried the sin of the world on Himself and or a brief moment His father looked away and He was alone. He humbled himself to death on a cross that was the most humiliating death possible in His day. He did everything He could to complete the task He was sent to do. He did not hold back on the giving; He gave everything for us to find new life…He gave His love and life.
Jesus gave His all to us freely; He held nothing back. In Matt 10:5-8, Jesus is sending the twelve out and tells them who to share the gospel with; the Jews and not the Samaritans or Gentiles; what to do – heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons; then he told them to give freely. His hope was that we would recognise that He did all this in love so that we can come to believe in Him and follow Him. Yes, that was His hope; there was no guarantee that we would use our free will to follow Him, yet He still gave his life for us. Imagine that!
To give freely is to give to others as instructed with absolutely no expectation of getting something back. Forget everything you know about “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure pressed down shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38.” Think about giving in the way Christ did it. He gave his life for us and didn’t hold us ransom for it. After all, what did we have of value that we could give back to Him? He was before everything we have. Our money, property, ideas everything comes from Him. What do you have that would be of value to him other than your life? Yes, the only thing you could give him back is your life…freely given without expectation for anything in return.
To give in the real sense is to focus on what others need and not on what we need. If I am seeking first His kingdom and doing everything He tells me surely all the things I need will be added to me. For sure if He provides for the trees, flowers and animals why do I think differently in regard to me? So if my supply is guaranteed and if I truly trust Him then I can give freely with no expectation of getting back. To give this way is a very high calling. Christ gave His all that I may find eternal life and He had no guarantee that I would respond. That amazes me to no end…the depth of God’s love.
So I ask myself, why can’t I give freely when I have received so freely? Could it be because I am not truly certain that I am totally taken care of?
I am learning to find freedom in following instruction and giving to people as told rather than to give only to those who can give back. Every opportunity to give that comes my way must be dealt with and connected to. I have to understand that I have access to something so unbelievable that can bring the greatest peace and joy into my life. I am learning to give freely because I have come to understand that to keep it all for me doesn’t even help me. I have something that someone else needs to tap into and if I don’t share it with them I deny them a blessing. In denying them a blessing I deny myself a blessing too; the blessing of a deeper relationship with God.
Today I choose to give freely even when it doesn’t make sense.