Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Call to Give, Part 4: Oneself

~Tuesday Thoughts~

These November Tuesdays I want to explore the theme of giving. The Dictionary of Bible Themes divides it up into four things: giving of oneself, of possessions, of talents, and of time. I'm mixing that order up and we’ll have possessions first, time second, talents third and then –oh, the climax!- the giving of oneself. The first three Tuesdays were about giving possesionsgiving time, and giving talents. Now let's discuss the awesome thing called giving ourselves!

Giving of oneself sounds… awfully scary. The phrase itself makes one shudder, even if we don’t completely understand what it means.

The Dictionary of Bible Themes defines giving oneself as “the submission of the self to the will of God, in thanksgiving and service.”

Why should we give ourselves? 

Well, first because we belong to God.

"Know that the Lord is God.
  It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
  we are his people, the sheep of his pasture." Psalm 100:3 (NIV)

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

Second, because all good things are given by God.

"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" 1 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand." 1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV)

Let’s not forget the greatest example of giving ever – Jesus Christ

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."1 John 3:16(NIV)

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)

To who or to what are we supposed to give ourselves? 

1. To God

"Therefore, I urge you, rothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." Romans 12:1 (NIV)

"And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us." 2 Corinthians 8:5 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

2. To one another

"And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us." 2 Corinthians 8:5 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

"You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people." 1 Corinthians 16:15a (NIV) (emphasis mine)

3. To holy living

"Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness." Romans 6:19b (NIV)

4. To the service of God

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

5. To a life of self-denial

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24 (NIV)

"In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples." Luke 14:33 (NIV)

6. To martyrdom

"Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God." Daniel 3:28 (NIV)

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace." Acts 20:24 (NIV)

There are also rewards - good motivation! -  for self-giving. 

"Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39 (NIV). (You can find similar verses in Mark and Luke.)

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." Matthew 19:29 (NIV) (You can find similar verses in Mark and Luke.)

Along with all that we are also supposed to give thanks. 

"Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
  make known among the nations what he has done." 1 Chronicles 16:8 (NIV)

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

If you want to find more on the topic of giving oneself you can look at what The Dictionary of Bible Themes has on it

What about you? What ideas does this give you? In what ways are you already giving yourself or can give in the future? Please share!

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