this is the definition of "give" that most lines up with and inspires why i chose this one. the Bible calls us to give, to share the resources we've been given, to walk in the knowledge that NOTHING we have is ours. all of it is a gift. we've done nothing to deserve the gifts we have; therefore, they should be abundantly shared and given away. it is NOT AN OPTION in the kingdom. so my goal in this was to live in such a way that the kingdom of God would more and more be manifested in and through my life - that i might be changed by the giving of my resources to others and that the kingdom might be advanced as a result.
the extra percentage was so that i might learn what it's like to "sacrificially give." by this i mean, not just give out of the excess but give up something that i myself would like to have in order that someone else might be blessed. God is working in me. i won't lie. he has called me to save money for some things i cannot yet see. he's called me to give to some causes i really believe in and to give to some places i've never heard of. he's called me to help friends in need and to go to other countries and love on people in his name. he has called me out. out of comfortable, out of myself, out of where i'd like to remain. at some points in this last year's journey, i've wondered why the heck this was on my list and why it was something i was learning in this season. this week - the week that i turn 30, i've just started to learn some of those reasons.
some of my best friends, the goodfellows, are taking their 4 little kids and moving their lives to Peru for a cause called krochet kids which essentially brings life and a future to many women without hope. they are giving up their ENTIRE LIVES for this cause, that they may be the hands and feet of Christ in Lima. i love them and can't wait to join them in their journey.
some other friends, the fox's, are jumping into a church plant that i absolutely can get behind and are needing to partially raise their own salary. this is huge kingdom stuff, effecting the lives of thousands of college students and young adults. i believe in it.
some other friends are adopting from ghana and others from uganda and can't carry the weight of adoption fees on their own. i am blown away to get the chance to invest in bringing their boy home and caring for an orphan who would otherwise have no home and no parents.
i am seeing how God is taking my idea of what i want to do with my resources and turning it upside down and saying, "no, these resources weren't yours to begin with, they're mine. the needs are great. follow me, you'll be amazed what i'll show you and how i'll change you through giving." so i'm on a journey with this. i'm learning what it means to sacrificially give. i'm not great at it yet, but i'm workin' on it. i told my boyfriend the other night, "i spend SO much of my time on money on building my kingdom and forgetting about God's because mine (the vacations, pedicures, dinners out, etc) seems so much more appealing and tangible than something I can't see." but you know what, it's empty, pale and poor compared to investing in God's kingdom and getting to see the amazing things he'll do in and through me.
as richard stearns puts it in his book "The Hole in Our Gospel":
"The point is He wants us to embrace a kingdom view of our money, possessions, and abilities, recognizing that all we have comes from Him. He wants us to hold them lightly and be willing to use them on His behalf. Three clear principles, then, differentiate the scriptural view of our money from the "American Dream" view:
1) It's not our money - it all comes from God.
2) We are not "entitled to" it but "entrusted with" it.
3) Got expects us to use it in the interest of His kingdom."
so in this next season, i will take the needs of those around me - those i know and love and those who are strangers and i will do my best to "feed the hungry and stand beside the broken and to fight for the orphan" because those are things close to the heart of my God. i would, without a doubt say that this was my most life-changing 30 before 30 commitment and the one that will bring HIM the most glory. i am a work in progress and will keep you updated on how our good God continues to call me forward in this.