Imagine you are talking to a trusted friend. You personally open up and share about the good things that you are doing, the good life you are leading, the blessings that have been sent your way. Your friend nods, and maybe even smiles.
And then this respected and trusted friend breaks the silence with, “There is still one thing you lack.”
To hear that phrase leaves you wondering what you need to “get” in order to no longer be lacking.
Perhaps this is what the Rich Young Ruler of Luke 18 first thought when he heard Jesus say to him, “One thing you still lack.” I imagine that the Rich Young Ruler was relieved to hear that there was one more thing he needed because – unlike most of us – he was in a position financially and authoritatively to get whatever else he wanted. I’m lacking something? Name it, and by the end of the business day today I will have it! So maybe, for that split second, the Rich Young Ruler listened intently to what it could be that Jesus commands him to get so that he is no longer lacking.
But herein lies the irony. Jesus didn’t instruct the rich young ruler to get anything, but rather to give.
We typically remedy a lack of something by GETTING, but Jesus’ prescribes GIVING.
The quandary of the rich young ruler: He had the money and the authority to GET anything he wanted. But was he powerful enough to GIVE?
Today – Day #4 of our 22.5 Day Challenge – is centered around this story in Luke 18. Take time to read it and listen for what God prompts you to do. The activity/experience that our 22.5 Day Calendar suggests is to give something of personal value to the Salvation Army (or a person/organization in need). The key to this is the phrase “personal value.” We’ve likely all given things away that we no longer need or appreciate, but maybe “the one thing we lack” is to give something valuable.
I woke up this morning – actually God woke me up before my alarm did – and I sensed God leading me to give away a personal item (that will remain unnamed). I have been wrestling with God over this for a few hours, asking questions mostly centered around this: If I am going to give _______ away, then who would be most appreciative or could benefit the most from receiving _______________? But, ya know, maybe God is more interested in what giving will do in me than what my gift could do for the person I give it to.
As I understand the point of this story in Luke 18, Jesus did not see this man’s riches as the answer to world poverty. Instead, He saw how “giving” would be the method of transforming this worldly man.
What I feel God calling me to give away is valuable to me – something that I most certainly will miss. But I have to be honest and say that this item will not solve significant problems in the life of the recipient. But that’s ok. Giving isn’t just a way to meet the needs of an impoverished world; “giving” is a way I allow God to deal with the poverty of my own soul.
Give. It may not change the world, but you may never be the same.