"The poor deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can't help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, 'Is this idol that I'm holding in my hand a lie?' " Isaiah 44:20...."But He answered, 'You give them something to eat.' Luke 6:37....."If you spend your life trying to get more, is that the way you actually end up with less?....Why grow the list of what I want to have instead of the list of what I can give?...Is real life when you choose to be bread to all kinds of hungry?....Be the gift!" Ann Voskamp
After the movie "The Bucket List" came out, a lot of attention was given to people making out lists of things they wanted to do, accomplish, or have before the end of their lives. The idea was to have the greatest fulfillment of "self" possible during their time on earth. It sounds really great......to the flesh. It is the flesh's idea of the abundant life, and it's a message that has found a very comfortable home in the lives of we who are His church. Abundance is all about gaining and keeping. Abundance is all about us, and little, if anything, about Him and others. Others that He loves and sees, but we don't see, and are indifferent to if we do. Someone asked whether we go through life as "graspers or givers?" Which one are we? Which one is you?
Ann Voskamp writes of speaking to a cancer patient who told her that their Doctor said, "In our human bodies, the cells that only benefit themselves are known as cancer." Can there be a more chilling statement concerning our lives of self-indulgence, self-absorption, self-worship? The greatest and most powerful idol we may have is the self. And we can have a death-grip on that idol....literally. It's a cancer that steadily eats away at us....and of our relationship with Him...if indeed we have one at all. What do we long to hold in our hands? The fullness of His life and heart.....or the fulfillment of ourselves? Do we hold to a delusional lie, or to His abundant life and truth? Do we embrace a cancer that's destroying us, or a Person who frees us?
Mark Buchanan said that we're willing to give "up to a tithe." There's a broader meaning there than money. He meant that we have a boundary line drawn as to just how much we're willing to give of ourselves and what we have. There's a limit to our giving, but there never seems to be a limit to our getting. Some time ago I referred to a group of poor Chinese believers who were receiving an offering for people in a nearby village. A bag was passed around the group to receive that offering. Some of them had nothing at all materially to give....so they literally placed themselves into the bag when it came to them. Their meaning was clear. They would give the one thing they could to help with the need...themselves. Could we dare to believe for such here in our western churches? We would readily write a check, but most likely it would be out of our riches. The Father gives according to His. Few of us would be willing to place ourselves "into the sack."
Have we a Bucket List somewhere? Is that list all about what we can get before we leave this realm? A realm we really don't want to leave. Or, is it about all that we can give here, because we know here is not what we were created for. We have no treasure here. He's our treasure, and really, shouldn't the only item on our list be having fulfillment in Him? We'll find that by giving ourselves away. There's all kinds of hungry around us. Jesus told us to give them something to eat. Where on our Bucket List do we find that?