Exactly two thirds of what I had left. If I gave what the Spirit instructed me to give, it would be two thirds of the money left in my wallet. I wondered if it was worth it, if I could afford it, if I was being foolish, fiscally irresponsible even! I tried to do some quick math about my remaining expenses, but that only wore me out, so finally and quietly I let it go. I sat at my desk, looked at the money and thought, “Whatever, Lord.” It would be nice if I had said something a little more upbeat and a little less snippy, but I was more-or-less caving to the request rather than graciously yielding, and so it came out as ‘whatever’. It could have ended there. I was being obedient after all, so God could have dropped it, but there was more that the Spirit had to say. Very gently and very simply he told me, “I’ll give it back.”
We’ve all heard sermons on giving, and the gist is always the same, give and it will be given back to you (pressed down and shaken together, if you know what I mean). It sounds good, right until you are asked to give from your very last, the remaining morsels, or worse yet, your one and only! But God says to us, “I’ll give it back.”
Is that what Abraham heard when asked to give up the son he had waited for all his life? “I’ll give him back.” What about Moses’ mother? As she placed her precious baby boy in that basket and pushed him down river, handing him over to near certain death, did she hear, “I’ll give him back?” What about the widow who gave the last that she had to live off to the temple as an offering? In her heart, did she know that God would take care of her, that he would give back to her what she willingly gave to him?
My friends, if you are afraid to let something go, know that God understands. He does not command us to hold back tears and pretend. He is not dismissive of our fears! Instead, he wants to calm them; if we would allow him. Whatever the void that results from letting go of that money, job, relationship, way of thinking, type of living, you name it…God is big enough to fill that void. He will return to you everything you let go of for his sake. He’ll give new money, new jobs, new relationships, new thoughts, new habits, even new life!
A gentle and calm knowing slipped over my entire consciousness when I let those words of hope penetrate my heart. It did not matter if it were two thirds or one hundred percent; God cared enough to speak to my trembling doubtful heart, and that gave me confidence. Is he speaking to you? Is he trying to assure you that it’s okay to let go?
In Matthew 16:25 Jesus presents the paradox of losing our lives in order to gain our lives. His disciples must have been puzzled by this; but then he, Jesus, lost his life and miraculously rose from the grave. He showed them by his own death and resurrection that truly, everything we lay down for God will be given back, even our very lives. God’s generous love and promise to care for us makes it possible to let go of things. So go ahead and relinquish your hold, God will give it back.