be a reckless follower
Do you give our Father your all?
I mean do you give it all up, or just do what seems comfortable and okay?
Are you willing to give Him all of your energy? All of your time? All of your money? All of your plans? All of your heart? Are you willing to give until it is painful?
Story after story, the Bible reminds us that it was the people who were willing to give it all up, that gained it all. They were the ones that our Father chose to bless and use for big things. They were the ones who truly became His disciples.
Abraham was willing and ready to sacrifice his son in order to show how obedient he was willing to be. Mary and Joseph were willing to give up their entire reputation to follow through with the task of bringing our Savior into the world. Simon, Andrew, James, and John dropped everything without hesitation when Jesus told them to come follow Him. Mary dropped everything when Jesus asked to spend time with her. One woman even poured over a year’s salary worth of perfume on Jesus just to show her devotion to Him. And what about when Jesus died on the cross for our transgressions? The stories go on and on…
Every day I am discovering and experiencing how incredible it is to see my Father reveal Himself to me in different ways. My favorite moments are when He shows me Himself through children. At times I am left speechless by the ways my students can represent Jesus so vividly to me.
I have a kiddo who has a heartbreaking story. He has experienced far more heartbreak, hurt, and evil then I am okay with. He has been through the wringer, and many days it can show in his actions- in his inability to control himself and make good choices. The school year has been one of many growing pains for me as I have tried my best to become the teacher who can respond to students like this with grace and love. Yet many days this year I have left school feeling defeated by the way frustration had overtaken my actions and words.
Rewind to Valentines Day. As you can imagine, within five seconds of the bell ringing, I had ten kids surrounding me anxious to show me the box they had made, show me their new Valentines outfit, or sweetly gift me with a box of chocolate. It took me minutes to even part the children enough to get into my own classroom, and when I finally did, I was a little confused as to what was going on. Many of the desks had pennies on them and a few kids were even holding coins. On my desk was a bag of coins, too. In time I was able to sort through all that was going on, to discover that my sweet kiddo, who has been dealt the worst of circumstances, was handing out pennies to all the students in the class.
I pulled him aside to understand what was going on and he assured me that it was his own personal money he had earned, and that his mom knew he was doing this.
In those thirty seconds of talking with him, somehow a line of five more kids had formed behind me all with something urgent to say, so I put the whole thing aside and moved on with my day.
Lunch time rolled around and when I finally had a moment to breathe and process the last few hours, my heart was focused on one thing only- this extravagant gift of love my student had just shown.
He is a child who deserves to have every excuse to be selfish and hold onto whatever he can get his hands on, but instead he gave extravagantly. And he didn’t give forcefully, but he gave with sheer excitement. He had handed out these pennies before the day had begun, because he was so eager to show love to his classmates. He gave his all because he wanted to.
Lunch flew by, and the afternoon was filled with a party, way too much sugar, and extra recess. The bell finally rang at 3:30 and I sent all my kiddos home to sort through all their cards and as I can imagine, eat more of their candy.
As I headed back to my classroom after dismissal, this student and his family stopped me in the hallway and handed me flowers and chocolate. I just about melted.
Knowing what I know, this was no small gift for them.
This student, who had no need to so graciously shower his classmates and me in love, did it anyways. And he didn’t just give, he sacrificially gave. I knew that those pennies, flowers, and chocolate were worth gold to them.
The whole drive home I looked at my flowers and thought, “I ought to be more like him.” I should give until it hurts more often. Maybe that means serving my Father’s children more often. Maybe that means financially supporting more ministries. Maybe that means being better at saying no to my to-do list and being better at putting His to-do list first. Maybe that means better investing in a relationship. Whatever it is, all I could imagine was a world full of people like my student. People who wake up ready and eager to love one another. To give. To serve.
To give our Father our all.
Can you imagine what that would be like?
A world full of believers who decided that living comfortably was getting them nowhere, and instead decided to live fearlessly and boldly walking in the path He has set out for us.
I love the story of the widow who gave two coins. While everyone’s offerings made hers seem insignificant, Jesus tells us otherwise.
“The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford- she gave her all.” Mark 12:43-44
This widow didn’t give what was comfortable for her. She gave until it was painful knowing that our Father would care for her needs.
And even though giving her all was less than others, it was more valuable to our Father. Maybe you don’t have a lot of time, money, or energy to offer. What you can give is enough, and our Father in His mighty power will multiply it to be exactly what He needs it to be to further His kingdom.
Maliyah, as you get older you may have a friend in your life who really needs your support. As busy as you will be, God may prompt you to carve out the time to meet with your friend once a week. In that season of life, an hour each week might represent sacrificially giving for you- embrace it and run with it. He will fill you with the energy and time you need to get everything else done.
You may be struggling to get your feet on the ground with regards to finances, and that ten percent tithe may seem like it will take you down. Sacrificially give that ten percent, and I promise you that He will meet all your needs.
Our Father might ask you to give up something in your life that you love, and it might make no sense at all. Sacrificially give that thing up knowing that His plans are far better than your own, and that He is working all things together for your good.
When in life He calls you to give Him something, be obedient and do it. Whether it seems insignificant and silly, or it will rock your world, give.
Fully give up your plans. Fully give up your comfort. Fully give up your security.
And follow Him.
Maliyah, be a “reckless” follower of Jesus. One who does crazy things for the Kingdom, because your Father asks you to.
All my love,