When was the last time you saw or experienced sacrificial giving? This week I had the privilege of seeing and experiencing it.
College students don't have money. They eat ramen noodles and taco bell. Yet on Monday we had our student leadership end of the semester dinner celebration where we spent a couple hours honoring each other and bragging on what God has done in each others lives. We celebrated over dinner at a Mexican restaurant where one of our students secretly paid for ALL 13 of our dinners. Not cheap! And then on Tuesday one of our students bought and brought 10 extra white elephant gifts so everyone would be able to participate and receive a gift during our Christmas party game. It's beautiful to see people who don't have a lot giving even what they do have for the sake of others, seeing students choosing sacrifice for the sake of others.
"Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:4-7
Jesus, who is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, the One who is One with the Father who breathed the stars into existence and knit together our Laminin. There was no room for Him. Surely just as He directed me to put our kids in school instead of homeschool, just as He has led us a thousand times He could have orchestrated circumstances to make provision for a hotel room. Surely God of the universe could have done that.
But the beautiful question is not what God could do, but what He chose not to do. He chose to become poor, to lay down His rights, what He was entitled to. He chose to live a life less than He deserved, knowing what He gave up would mean our souls won. Knowing His sacrificial living would be temporary and our souls eternal. He lived as though this land was not the end but a trading ground for laves. The place He traded His life for ours. The place He bought us out of slavery for the price of His own skin. He choose to temporarily give up His crown to clothe us with His robe.
He, God of the Universe became poor that we might become rich. What kind of God chooses that!? Wow!
Lord, what does it look like for us to choose like You? What do You want us to give up and what don't You? Giving up sharing the gospel to spend all our time with our family or working longer to get more money so our family can have more stuff. Those are obviously contrary to Your Word and not in line with Your heart. So what is? What does it look like for us very American people to choose to become poor? You came to seek to save the lost. Everything you gave up was for the purpose of ransoming slaves for eternity much like Shindler's List. Lord, what can we give up this Christmas so the lost can hear the message of Your life? Oh Lord, not out of guilt and not out of obligation but I look around at what You've entrusted to me, I'm moved. Oh Lord help me not be like the unfogiving debtor who was for-given so much but held so tightly he was unable to for-give others.
Laura is married to her best friend Austin, and has three kids, two of who are adopted. They have been missionaries to college students for the last 11 years and currently serve in Denver Colorado with Master Plan Ministries. Laura loves to speak to women's and college groups and wrote an in-depth Bible study, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional which goes through First Samuel last year. You can find her on facebook, twitter, youtube, instagram and pintrest.