Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cost Cutting

“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Matthew 10: 8b

Most people want something if they give something, don’t they? Parents give love and look for obedience from their children. Children do chores and then expect money or privileges from their parents. Teachers work hard and expect their students to give the same effort. People do their jobs and expect to be well paid in return.

If we buy a meal out, we expect good service and a good meal. If we buy a new cell phone, we hope it is better than our last one and won’t drop so many calls. If we help a friend move or paint their deck, we expect their help in return when we have to move or remodel. We’ll drive someone but gas is expensive, so we expect they will chip-in to help pay for the gas. We invite someone to our wedding and give them a good party and meal and we expect a nice present. Some guys spend a lot of money on a date and then expect the girl to “repay” at the end of the night. And when we do not receive back in return we hold it over someone’s head or vow to never help them again.

And yet Jesus tells us as His disciples that we are to give without cost. What does this mean practically speaking? I think it means to be generous with our time, talents and treasures and NOT expect the same treatment in return. It means that we should give to anyone in need that we have the ability to help simply to bless them and show them the love of Christ, not because we are expecting or hoping for them to do the same for us.

We received the love, grace and mercy of Jesus without cost because there is no way we could ever earn or repay Him for His sacrifice on Calvary. And yet knowing this, Jesus still gave Himself freely and completely to each of us on the cross. And all He asks of us as His followers is to do likewise. So how do we do this?

It is easy to help others that are like us. It is easy to help others who we know will treat us the same way even if we are not hoping for it or expecting it. But what about people and situations where there is no hope of expecting anything in return? What about serving and giving in these situations and to these people? What about when we don’t feel like it? What about when doing it will bring us little joy? What about when the giving results in some kind of suffering for ourselves? This is when the rubber meets the road. God is not asking us to be door mats, but He is asking us to join Him on the cross.

So where is God calling you to serve Him today? Who is God calling you to reach out to today? Where does God need you to be His hands and feet and voice RIGHT NOW? Pray for His direction, look around at your world and then give without counting the cost.

Dear Jesus, help me to give not for what I get in return, but simply because You call me to be like You. I want to give everything in my life to You and for You. Give me the grace to serve those You put in my sphere of influence today. Amen.

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