“As you know,” Stan said one morning, “we sometimes talk about the importance of focusing on the basics of our Christian beliefs.”
“Sure do,” I responded. “Such focus is really important to know more deeply what we believe so we can manifest it, live the life we are intended to live, and show the watching world what it means to be a Christian.”
“That’s right,” Stan said. “And I was focusing on one of the really basic New Testament verses the other day and saw it in a different light.”
“Which one was that?”
“John 3:16,” he replied.
“Oh,” I said, “that’s about as basic as it gets! It sets forth the whole point of why Jesus came into the world, to save all who believe. What different light did you see about this basic?”
“The role of responsive giving,” Stan replied.
“Responsive giving?” I queried. “What’s that?”
“Look at the words,” Stan said. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
“Right,” I replied, “to save all who believe.”
“Then what?” Stan asked. “That’s the question that came to me as I focused on this verse.”
I was quiet so he continued. “The ‘then what’ for me is to answer the question of what am I willing to give in response to what God has given.”
“Oh,” I said, “that’s the ‘responsive giving’.”
“Right,” Stan replied, “And the bottom-line answer of what I am supposed to be willing to give is me, all of me. For whatever God wants to do in and through me.”
“That sounds a lot like discipleship,” I said.
“In what way?” Stan asked.
“All three steps,” I responded. “Denying self, taking up what God has for me to take up, and following Him.”
“I think you got it, my friend,” Stan replied. “It seems to me that John 3:16 is all about giving. It’s about what God gave and it’s about what I’m to give in response when the question is presented of what am I willing to give.”
Bible verses to consider:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Prayer: Thank you for giving your Son so that all who believe can have the assurance of life eternally with you when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship before then. Thank you for opening me to focus on what your giving is supposed to mean for my giving. I confess that too often I do not give you all of me to do with what you want. I do that because I want to do what I want to do apart from you. Please forgive that foolish approach to being yours as you intend. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead so I truly give you all of me all of the time so you can use me for your purposes. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus, the One you gave. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted what God has given so you have the assurance of spending eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? It’s His free and gracious gift that only needs to be accepted. If you have accepted His gift, how are you doing in giving yourself to Him for His purposes? If you sense the need for greater giving in response to God’s giving, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?