How low will love for God send you? How much will you give up, go without, embrace and suffer? We serve an amazing God. Only our willingness to sacrifice for others in His Name shows if we’re really serving Him – and therefore, loving Him.
“I want to test the sincerity of your love” (v.8). We’re not above having our priorities and habits tested, are we? We don’t go on the defensive just because we’re asked to do hard things for the sake of the church, do we? If we do, it might be that our hearts are more full of self-justifying (and self-preserving) pride than they are full of love for Jesus Christ. Take a look around you at those who are truly serving the Kingdom of God, and then take a look at yourself. You might learn something important.
The Macedonians believers were poor, but they weren’t trapped in their poverty – they gave out of it to benefit others, such was their love for Christ (vv.1-5). We should be challenged. Above all, the example of Christ is our supreme challenge, the Saviour who gladly left all of His riches in order to give Himself for others. Through His poverty, the dying love of that abandoned man, we have become rich (v.9).
So do it, won’t you? Serve, give, live the life. Refuse to be a fake, refuse to compromise, to cosset your life with stuff, money, comforts and distractions. Live this Gospel. Live it with others, and for others. God is not screwing your money out of you. No Christian leader of any integrity should ever try to do that. But don’t be mistaken: any authentic Pastor or leader is calling you to deep Gospel sacrifice, whilst striving to live it out, too. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, is calling and empowering You to live out His sacrificial life. It starts with small things, it’s always focused on people, and its aim is always the Glory of God. Only that life and its work will last. Live for anything else, or in any other way, and you might only have yourself to blame if that life you so love will slip through your fingers, to your eternal shame.
A Prayer to Pray
Lord, You were rich beyond all splendour, all for love’s sake became so poor. This is my God, in Whose sweet praise I all my days could gladly spend. Lord of the Cross of shame, fill my cold heart aflame, with love for You, my Saviour and my Master. Kindle a flame of sacred love upon the altar of my heart. Amen.