Give Until Nothing's Left

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If you give what you don’t need, it isn’t giving.

In the latter part of the 17th century, German preacher August H. Francke founded an orphanage to care for the homeless children of Halle. One day when Francke desperately needed funds to carry on his work, a destitute Christian widow came to his door begging for a ducat--a gold coin. Because of his financial situation, he politely but regretfully told her he couldn't help her. Disheartened, the woman began to weep. Moved by her tears, Francke asked her to wait while he went to his room to pray. After seeking God's guidance, he felt that the Holy Spirit wanted him to change his mind. So, trusting the Lord to meet his own needs, he gave her the money.

Two mornings later, he received a letter of thanks from the widow. She explained that because of his generosity she had asked the Lord to shower the orphanage with gifts. That same day Francke received 12 ducats from a wealthy lady and 2 more from a friend in Sweden. He thought he had been amply rewarded for helping the widow, but he was soon informed that the orphanage was to receive 500 gold pieces from the estate of Prince Lodewyk Van Wurtenburg. When he heard this, Francke wept in gratitude. In sacrificially providing for that needy widow, he had been enriched, not impoverished.

Not knowing the blessings that would be given to him, Francke stepped out in faith and sacrificed for the need of the widow. He didn’t know where his next meal would come from, yet when God called him to give of what little he had, he willingly obeyed God.

Over the past few days we have seen a few of the characteristics that defined Christ’s ministry on earth. He displayed humility and kindness wherever He went. But just like the German preacher in our story, Jesus also displayed sacrifice.

Of course Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross immediately comes to our minds, but He also sacrificed every day. Think of all that Jesus, the Son of God, could have had on earth. He could have had the biggest palace with the stateliest clothing, yet He chose to roam the deserts in a robe, searching for souls to save. He sacrificed His time, energy, and everything He had for others.

Notice the verses today in John 13. While we normally look to this passage as an example of Christ’s humility, think of the events surrounding these verses. In the next few chapters Jesus would be betrayed by one of His own disciples. Being aware of what was going on, He decided to sacrifice His last few moments on earth teaching the disciples and serving them.

How often do you sacrifice of yourself for others? When was the last time you spent time, money, or energy simply to help the needs of others? So many people are struggling financially today and although you may not be able to give them money, simply spending time with them or showing them you care can help them. So ask yourself this, “Who can I sacrifice for today?”

Source: Daily in the Word, August 23, 2008

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