Sacrificial Love


“You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21 ESV)

I had some misplaced priorities. I suppose at some level I’d known it for some time. But I didn’t fully recognize how misplaced they were until I took a trip to El Salvador with a Christian humanitarian organization.

I met two children on a home visit. They lifted their tarp door and invited me into mud puddles and dirt walls with just one bed where their family of five rested at night. One bed for dreaming dreams of being a doctor and police officer.

I’d come to offer gifts of detergent and food. But the children’s gifts exceeded anything I had to give. A tiny beaded bracelet smudged with dirt, drenched in love. They wanted it to be mine. They filled my hands with selfless love. Love shared in smiles and what few tangible gifts they owned.

Feeling too shy to hand me the bracelet herself, the girl nudged her brother. He presented it to me as if it were a royal crown and slid it gently on my wrist. I declare, diamonds couldn’t match the worth of their hearts, their gift in that moment.

The next morning as I was getting dressed, I felt a nudge. Give your bracelet away like those children gave theirs to you.

You see, I had another precious bracelet with me. It was one my dad had given me over twenty years ago. Just a simple wooden bracelet from South Africa, but it meant the world to me.

How could I part with it? I wrestled with indecision. My heart soared, anticipating the moment I’d spot a mama to whom I would give my bracelet. Then my heart sank, anxious at the thought of giving up one of my treasures.

And there lay the problem. My misplaced treasure.

I’m embarrassed … heartbroken. I’m sad to say I couldn’t give it away. Couldn’t? No; more like I wouldn’t. Both bracelets journeyed back home with me. One bearing selflessness; the other, selfishness.

I thought I was really something, bringing gifts to those kids in the form of beans and rice. Little did I know, I was the one in need. I needed God’s mercy. I needed a new perspective. I don’t want possessions if I’m not willing to use them to love others.

I needed the one thing I lacked … more love for the Lord than for my possessions. My heart held tighter to my bracelet than it did to what God had asked me to do. He beckoned, “Give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” A simple request, yet so difficult to follow.

I don’t want to be lacking in love for the Lord or those He cares for. Next time I’m giving it all. I’m starting by opening my hands and heart and looking for opportunities today. Are you with me?

Dear Lord, You are the perfect example of giving. Thank You for new mercies, second chances, and a heart capable of responding to Your prompting. Help me to respond to Your prompting this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Related Resources

Remember
You need more love for the Lord than for your possessions.

Reflect
You can choose each day to bear selflessness or selfishness. Why is it sometimes easier to hold more tightly to earthy possessions?

Respond
Set up a time to volunteer with those who have less than you to help gain perspective on what’s important.

Power Verses
Matthew 6:20; 1 Timothy 6:18-19

 

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Obrigado (Thank you) lyrics by Solly Mahlangu (With English Translation en Traduction Française)


Obrigado (Thank you) lyrics by Solly Mahlangu (With English Translation en Traduction Française).

Saved To Serve


INTRODUCTION:

  1. As we continue to study christianity and its significance, we need to realize that:
    • Every right implies responsibility.
    • Every opportunity implies an obligation.
    • Every possession implies a duty.
  1. Enjoying a christian relationship with God involves accepting the responsibilities inherent in that relationship.
    • Duty without doctrine is like a tree without roots.
    • But doctrine without duty is like a tree without fruit.
  1. A Christian is a person called to God’s service.
    • 1Thessalonians1:9
    • We are obligated to fulfil our individual service.
    • Say attention to the ministry you have received in the LORD, so that you can accomplish it.Colossians 4:17

DISCUSSION:

THE KINGDOM IS A REALM OF ACTIVITY

  1. This fact is seen in the various designations used to describe Christians:
  1. As Christians we are to be:
  1. A Christian’s ago should be to do God’s will.
    • Notice Jesus’ attitude, John 6.38,is this true of us?
    • Doing God’s will pleases God,2Co 5:9.
    • A non-active Christian puts his soul in jeopardy,Mat 25:31-46.
    • The Spiritual free loaderwho is just a long the ridewill be sadly disappointed, Matthew 7.21
    • Unused abilities and opportunities will eventually be withdrawn.
    • We are responsible for doing what we can, Mark 14:8

CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE WORKERS

  1. Christians are identified as:
  1. A christians activity must consist of :
  1. We need to be honest with ourselves, and ask questions concerning our abilities and opportunities.
    • Concerning our abilities we need to ask:
      1. In what ways am I especially blessed by God?
      2. What do I possess that might be used in the LORD’s work?
      3. What do I derive fulfilment from doing?
      4. What do I Enjoy doing?
      5. What comes naturally for me?
      6. What might I learn to Do?
    • Concerning our opportunities we need to ask:
      1. What needs to be done in the LORD’s work?
      2. What Scriptural restrictions govern the work?
      3. What other factors any limit my opportunity?
      4. What is now being done inadequately?
      5. What problems exist that need to be solved?
      6. What are others doing that I need to help do?
    • We need to develop certain attitudes concerning our Christian work:
      1. Gratitude for the privilege, 1Tim 1:12
      2. Initiative, willing to work without havin to be plodded, 1Tim 4:12
      3. Be positive, Philippians2:14
      4. Enthusiasm, as an example note, 2 Cor9:7
      5. A mind to work Nehemiah 4:6
      6. Resistence, Galatians 6:9

CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE SERVANTS

  1. There are five different Greek words used in the New Testament that emphasize this fact:

Oh! The Folly Of Youth


IN SUMMARY:

  1. This teenage girl had an argument with her father about what career path to take.
  2. She wanted to be one thing while her father was convinced she was supposed to be another. In the heat of the moment, her father exploded and said he would not pay her school fees.
  3. She ran away from home, slept with a stranger, and contracted HIV.

I heard of a story in the recent about a girl who got infected with HIV under very unfortunatecircumstances. I hear that story with mixed feelings. It begins with pity, then empathy, and by the time I finished, I was somewhat angry with this girl. Before someone accuses me of being insensitive, I will explain later what made of angry. In the meantime, let us travel down memory lane. Do you remember those high school end-year fare-well books? The ones where we used to write our goodbyes to our friends? That is the time you would open your heart and say all the sweet or nasty things you ever wanted to say to that person. Most would be sealed with strict instructions on what day to open them. I loved reading every single one of them and have kept those books to date. One lovely girl, Mable Richards Dakawrote me a very sweet farewell note. Her final words were,a moment’s passion can lead to a lifetime of regret. Be careful.
I still treasure those words since they contributed a great deal to of walking down the aisle as a pure gentleman last months.

Back to the story I alluded to. This teenage girl had an argument with her father bout what career path to take. She wanted to be one thing while her father was convinced she was supposed to be another. In the heat of the moment, her father exploded and said he would not say her school fees. She ran away from home, slept with a stranger, and contracted HIV. Now I am mad.

TEENAGE YEARS

Teenagers, let me make your parents clear: You will have arguments with your parents. You will argue about what to wear, when to go to where and with whom, you will argue about your hairdo and your choice of friends and you will most definately argue about what to do with your life. To disagree with your parents is like your job description as a teenager. You will argue because they think they know everything, while you think they know nothing. Few parents have any idea what some university courses are and they have no idea what you will become after studying such ridiculous courses. and contrary to what you may believe, they have your best interests at heart. I studied linguisticsat the university and from the onset, I had a very hard time explaining to my parents what that was. All they knew was, you study law, you become a lawyer. You study education, you become a teacher. You study Medicine, you become a doctor. You study linguistics, you become . . . Yeah. I know. Blank. And so throughout my first year, I got constant calls demanding that I change to a degree in education or a more intelligible course. I did not. But I also did not go and make love to a stranger. I politely told them I wanted to study linguistics and communication and that I did not wha to be a teacher. We did not quite agree on that one, but they finally saw that I was serious and stopped pushing me to change my degree course. It ended well although my father still asks me what it was I studied again, we are cool.

I feel really bad about this girl who has to live with HIV simply because she had a momentary disagreement with her father. The mature thing to do would have been to sleep over it and then talk to him when both of them have calmed down. If he remained adamant, she could go ahead and study whatever he wanted, then switch careers later. Some have made it, switching from mathematics to music, quite a big switch. So anything is possible. I know many teachers who are bankers right now!

So, take heed of this words:

A moment’s passion can lead to a lifetime of regret. Be careful.

Personal Development: Integrity!


Integrity

→Read

:1 Samuel 1-4 [OJB].

After surveying thousands of people around the world and performing more than 400 written case studies,James Kouzes and Barry Bosner, Identified those characteristics most desired in a leader. In virtually every survey, honesty or integrity was identified more frequently than any other trait,Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It.[Jossey – Bass Management]. That makes sense, doesn’t it? If people are going to follow someone, whether into battle or in business or ministry, they want assurance that their leader can be trusted. They want to know that he or she will keep promises and follow through with commitments

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In light of this research, Israel’s high regard for Samuel comes as no surprise. During his farewell speech, after having led Israel for decades, Samuel promised to repay anything he had unjustly taken from anyone. What a promise ! Even more impressive was the people’s response: Not one person rose up to make a claim against Samuel

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Samuel’s honesty and personal integrity permeated every area of his life. These two characteristics directed how he regarded his possessions, his business dealings and his treatment of those who were weaker than himself. Samuel held himself accountable to the people he led. He openned himself up to the scrutiny of everyone with whom he had ever had dealings . As a result of these practice, Samuel’s leadership has become legendary as this story has been told and retold throughout the centuries

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Samuel’s example calls each of us to hold to this same standard of integrity. Whatever your leadership responsibilities, whether you are in charge of multi-million dollar businesses or a two year old child, manage your affairs with honesty. Let your personal commitment to integrity show in what you do during the day. As you do so , you’ll become a leader whom others will eagerly follow

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Integrity and Who God Is

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→Is there anyone we can trust

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→People let us down again and again, because there is often a discrepancy between what they claim and what they live. But God will never let us down, because he never changes. His promises are as good as his unchanging character. Turn to Hebrews 13:8 and its accompanying study note to read about God’s perfect Integrity.Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever

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Verse to Memorize

:James 2:18,

Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I Do

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Integrity and Who I Am

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→People sometimes tell us one thing but live another. The Biblical virtue of Integrity points to a consistency between what is inside and what is outside between belief and behavior, our works and our ways, our attitudes and our actions, our values and our practice. Turn to the note on Isaiah 6:1-7to learn more about the meaning of Integrity

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Integrity and How It Works

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Integrity – Character – Ethics – Morality. We tend to use these words interchangeably and consequently blur some essential distinctives. Just what is Integrity? How is it different from ethics or morality? Jesus provided clarity with regard to these critical concepts in

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Integrity and What I Do

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How does a leader actually demonstrate Integrity? Paul have Timothy some instructions about leadership that will be helpful to all of us, and Howard and Bill Hendricks offer a telling illustration of Integrity in action. You will find today’s reading at

. Blessings