by Katherine Britton
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” – 1 Chronicles 29:14
While I was in elementary school, family friends made the decision to leave the States for Kiev, Ukraine. This family of seven, including children my age, had to downgrade from a four bedroom suburban home to an 800 square foot flat. That meant getting rid of a house full of clothes, toys, yard tools, furniture, dishes – a whole host of personal preferences and “needs.” Each family member had the luxury of one big trunk as they moved halfway around the world.
For this family, however, the joy of sharing the Gospel in a former USSR satellite nation outweighed all their possessions. My dad asked his friend how he was handling the sudden “loss.” His answer was telling.
“Actually,” the new missionary responded, “this is the most freeing thing I’ve ever done.”
This family found a special freedom far before I began to sniff it out. For me, this reorientation is coming slowly, helped along recently by a little book called The Treasure Principle. In it, Randy Alcorn uses a science metaphor to explain why our friends felt unshackled rather than empty. He writes:
It's a matter of basic physics. The greater the mass, the greater the hold that mass exerts. The more things we own—the greater their total mass the more they grip us, setting us in orbit around them. Finally, like a black hole, they suck us in.
Consider our materialism that way – the more stuff, the more mass. The more mass, the greater its gravitational pull. And the harder it is to escape.
Compare this to David’s exhilaration in 1 Chronicles. He is humbled not by how much God has blessed him with – but by how much God has allowed him to give away. The king of Israel, a center of the ancient world, found his joy not in the palaces and the women at his disposal, but in the act of returning to God was rightfully God’s. How many of us can say the same?
We live in a physical, material world. But we have the chance to defy its hold on us with every cent, toy, and “need” that comes our way. Are you ready?
Intersecting Faith & Life: I want to relearn the joy of giving in a more tangible way than ever before. As Alcorn puts it, “We give because He first gave to us” the most valuable gift of all. What ministries, families, or other kingdom cause is on your heart?