The more I read the New Testament the more I am convinced that God wants us to become like Jesus. I am not talking about becoming like him in his divinity. That just isn’t possible. But we are to become like Jesus in every area of our life. Just as Jesus loves God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength…he calls us to do the same. Just as Jesus loves mankind, he calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves. My point is, we are supposed to be like Jesus in as many was as possible. So when we read about Jesus’ life and ministry it is important that we learn to imitate him (or “follow him” as his disciple).
God is a giver:
One of the primary characteristics God wants for us to imitate is to be giving or generous people. I can say that with confidence because God is a giver by his very nature. The most popular verse in the Bible, John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world so much that he gave us Jesus. God gave us Jesus in three major ways:
- He gave Jesus to us through the incarnation
- God gave Jesus to us in the crucifixion (he died for our sins)
- God gave Jesus to us in the resurrection (he was raised so we will be raised)
Jesus is a giver
Not only is God a giver, Jesus was also a giver. Jesus gave his disciples many things including authority (Matt 10:1, 28:19), food (Mark 6:41) and most importantly he even gave himself. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). This verse tells us that Jesus’ very attitude was one of giving, not one of taking or receiving. Jesus wasn’t worried about what was in it for him because he trusted God would take care of that. Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus had an attitude of humble submission to his Father that he was willing to let go of his equality with God (maybe better translated that he didn’t see his divinity as an advantage to be eagerly or greedily grasped on to).
We are called to be givers
I could give you a list of commands and verses about how we are supposed to give. They are in there. But after reading about God and Jesus we shouldn’t even need commands and pro-giving verses to be convinced it should be a big part of our lives. This is not about giving money. This is about giving of ourselves. You can throw money at a problem or an issue without throwing your heart at it. God wants us to be like Jesus and give ourselves away. Like Jesus, life is not about what it is in it for us because we trust God will take care of that part.
I pray that 2013 is a year where we can be generous in as many ways as possible. One of the biggest ways to do that is to make ourselves available to others.