You know that song. The one by the dude who chose the most perfect stage name of all time. “MEAT – LOAF.” If you’re not old enough to know what I’m talking about without an education in the finest realms of music history, here’s the only snap shot you need.
This dude named himself “Meat Loaf.”
And he’s singing about love.
And people listened, by the way. A lot of people. At least 2 million of them bought the 1993 single, taking it to certified platinum status.
I’m not here to knock on Meat Loaf, but to simply point out that love makes us do crazy things, right?
Our family has been busy. Like, “particularly” busy. Remember that last blog I wrote? So filled with ambition and promise? I believe the basic premise was something to the effect of, “I’ve discovered that I need to start sharing with others what God’s doing in my life, so expect many more of these to come.”
8 months later, here we are. (facepalm)
To be fairer to myself, much of that time was spent:
- Tending to the various needs of my three young children…
- Preparing and directing my third School of Worship at YWAM Denver…
- Building our network of supporters
- Welcoming our fourth child into the world (NBD, but kinda low key a very big deal—check the Instagram for those baby pics)…
- Sleeping haha, JK
- Managing our many other leadership responsibilities throughout YWAM Denver…
- Playing tag team with my wife in our desperate attempts in preserving what’s left of our physical and mental health…
You get the idea.
With all the chaos seeming to steadily increase with each season, it’s in the quick moments of reflection like this that I wonder how we got ourselves into this mess.
How did we get here?
Where are we headed?
What needs to change?
Recently a friend of mine asked me a really important question: He wanted to know what would compel someone to dedicate their lives to the gospel of Jesus, knowing that they would be saying “no” to so many of the pleasures this world has to offer.
Not speaking of sinful pleasures or “lusts of the flesh,” as clearly indicated by the scriptures, but more so the pleasure we find in things like “job security”…”safety for our families”…”self sufficiency”…
At times it sounds like the promise of a less worrisome life. At others, the temptation towards an “independence” that causes us to forfeit the need for faith in our walk with God (yikes).
The kind of things you begin to wish you had when you’re forced to trust in God with all you have...
Maybe those “things” aren’t attainable to anyone…maybe they’re imaginary.
But why position ourselves in this lifestyle where those ideas seem so much further from our reach?
It’s a question that I need to continuously remind myself of my answer to:
It. Is. Better.
Than. To. Receive.
It’s not that people in ministries like I am need to be taught or convinced that this idea is true. I think it’s more that we need to be reminded of WHY it’s true.
We give and give and GIVE until there’s nothing left to give, but it’s in this place of having nothing left that we find ourselves in one of two states: content…or burned out.
I once heard a pastor put it this way: “God tells us it’s better to give than to receive because He knows from personal experience!”
He’s not trying to sell us on some sort of higher morality ideal that will merely cause others to feel sentimental over our generosity. He’s telling us because He sincerely believes it to be true. It’s how He’s always operated. God loves to give us good gifts.
James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”
We can’t out-give the giver of every good gift.
We can’t out-love the greatest lover on Earth.
Yet as we imitate Him we are privileged to experience what we never could through “receiving.”
When we give, we experience what God Himself takes GREAT DELIGHT in.
When I’m fully focused on how tired I am, how busy I am, how stressful life can be, I begin to feel like all my strength is being stripped away from me. But when I remind myself of WHY I’m tired, WHY I’m busy, and what all the work we’re doing is moving towards, I can feel His strength rising within me to do what He made me to do.
To give until there’s nothing left…but contentment.
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:11-13
If we GIVE without knowing WHY, our giving will run ourselves DRY
As He is the only one worthy of all of our efforts, all of our efforts will feel purposeless if not directed at Him. It will feel like something’s missing. Like it’s all just a waste.
But when it’s HE that we direct our giving at, the greatest waste of all feels like a privilege.
And others will call us crazy for it.
Just look at the story of Jesus’s anointing at Bethany:
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume (as scholars have estimated it to be the equivalent of the average person’s life savings—*very* expensive would be an understatement), which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked.9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew 26:6-13
Love makes us do crazy things.
“Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Love makes us do crazy things.
“Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:2
Love makes us do crazy things.
- I’m proud I get to show my children what it means to live for Jesus, even and especially when it’s costly.
- I’m humbled to witness the Holy Spirit enable me to minister to others when I feel like I have little worthwhile to offer them.
- I’m continuously surprised by how my capacity has increased, even when I *feel* unproductive
- I’m becoming more at peace with myself in being “enough” for God
- I’m learning more and more what it means to forgive myself for the ways I fall short
All of these were things I couldn’t so easily write down not so long ago. My busyness was consuming my thought-life with little acknowledgement towards who I was chasing after.
Thank you God that I’m learning to receive your love and your strength. Grant me the determination to continue growing in this way.
As for you…
No matter who you are…
You are being chased by a love greater than anyone could ever display, because He paid a price higher than anyone could ever pay.
His love has made Him do crazy things...
Beloved, may you be greatly aware of his affection over you today.
Thanks for listening.
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14