The other day I was sitting on my couch looking on eBay for things to buy — I mean, sell! — when I started feeling this joy or peace. It's hard to describe. I blew it off, but when it wouldn't go away, I realized that it might be the Holy Spirit ministering to me. So, I stopped what I was doing, put the computer down, and closed my eyes. I immediately heard (in my heart — not audibly), “I have made you for great things.”
I knew it was the Holy Spirit, because the night before when I was lying in bed, I heard the very same thing, “I have made you for great things. This is who you are, so don’t settle for good or anything else. I have made you for great things.”
“You have been created for great things!” Why do we struggle with believing this?
In order to do the great things Christ has created us to do, we have to sacrifice some of the good things in our lives! (By the way, this can't happen if we aren't listening to Him!)
Because of sin in our hearts and in the world, money has an enslaving power. Money isn't evil in and of itself, nor is being rich. But money can be an area of our lives in which we settle for good because we don't want to make the sacrifices necessary to be great.
In Mark 10:17-31 we read the famous story of the rich young ruler:
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus replied, “You know the commandments: do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal…”
"Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy."
Jesus said, “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
"How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mother children and fields, and with them persecution) and in the age to come, eternal life.”
From this we learn that money can exercise tremendous power over us and prevent us from becoming who we are created to be.
The rich young ruler came to Jesus asking for great, and he lost it because he settled for good.
Are you willing to sacrifice how you live for me? Are you willing to let go of what gives you security and trust me?
We can be great only when we sacrifice our lives for the life Jesus has for us.
There is no more powerful evidence of the power of the gospel than radical generosity. The more Christians give their money to God and others, the more people will believe in and experience the living reality of Jesus Christ. That is true whether you give money to a ministry that wins people to Christ, or if you are simply generous to your neighbors or to the poor. Christian giving changes peoples’ lives.
If we want to do the great things God has created us for, and if we want to be the church God has created us to be, we have to be great at giving!
As a church we must examine how we spend our money and our motives for not giving more, and repent for and revise the amount of money we spend on ourselves. But if we don’t push ourselves through the fear, pain, or even resentment that such examination will bring, we cannot experience the greater joy in God and freedom within ourselves, or bring the healing we want in our city.
We won’t ever become great.