The other night, Isaac was playing with a toy dump truck filled with at least 20 toy cars. Josiah wanted to play with them too. Isaac's first response was 'no' and his second response was to let Josiah play with one broken car. That moment was a powerful and sobering picture of how I often live and how too often the church and other Christians also live. We have abundance and someone with nothing seeks help and at first we give him nothing. Upon second thought, we give him broken leftovers and then we feel proud of ourselves! We gave to the needy!!! Look at us!!! What this is actually called is injustice and it is easy to see a 4 year old practicing injustice on his little brother and attempt to teach him why that is wrong and far from the heart of God; it is much harder to look at our hearts and see how unwilling we are to not just give broken leftovers, but to give all of ourselves, to give away the whole dump truck.
Recently I finished reading a book called Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. It is her story about following God's call to Uganda when she was just 18 years old and how she adopted 13 girls there and began an effective sponsorship ministry, while reaching the poorest of the poor. For more on her ministry and how to help go to her website here: http://www.amazima.org/. Her story really pierced my heart, especially since a piece of my heart has been in Uganda since the day back in 2003 when a Compassion volunteer handed me a card with a little boy named Isaac from Uganda on it when I was at a Jars of Clay/Caedmon's Call concert and I began to sponsor him. Then in 2005, I was given the wonderful opportunity to visit Isaac in Uganda and since then Ricky and I have also begun sponsoring another girl in Uganda named Doreen. Katie Davis lives the life Jesus asks of His followers in Luke 14:25-33, a life where we bear our own cross and come after Him and where we renounce all that we have for the kingdom of God and follow after Jesus. This is often called 'the cost of discipleship' and it is beautiful and free and convicting. Near the beginning of the book, she responds to those who ask her if she is afraid living in Uganda and she talks about living with that risk 'because I am running from the things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus that I am of any illness or tragedy.' Later she adds, 'I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.' And countless lives are transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in action.
Friends, let us walk into this beautiful surrender and watch God do the impossible in our lives as He rescues orphans and widows and the poor and us! Let us no longer give our broken, leftover toys, but let us give all of ourselves with generosity and gratitude! Let us live the full, abundant life Jesus promises to His followers! Let us pray for sensitivity to His Spirit as He shows us the particulars on our call in surrendering! And let us stand in expectant hope of the God who does 'immeasurably more than we ask or imagine' (Ephesians 3:20)!