My family and I have lived on a college campus for more than 15 years. On a regular basis we will hear a knock on the front door only to find, on the other side, a students who has a need. One evening my husband and I were enjoying a few quiet moments together when we heard that all too familiar knock. Inside I cringed. “What now?” I thought. We hadn’t had a quiet evening together for awhile.
My husband went out front to answer the door and there stood a young lady. She was sick and needed to go to the emergency room. Brian came back to our room, got his keys, and said, “I need to take a student to the hospital.” I selfishly replied, “There goes our evening together!” He looked at me with a disappointed glance and said, “I’m sorry. . . .” Then he was gone.
I immediately felt convicted.
Learning to give my life away is an ongoing lesson for me, and God continues to remind me that it is what I am here for! Giving my life away means choosing “death to self” or choosing to give up what might be considered my “right” to something. It can also mean choosing to be the least, the one in the background, or the one not noticed. It means sometimes choosing not to speak or not having to be heard.
Some examples of this can be found in the scriptures:
- In Luke 9 we see Jesus serving by washing the feet of his disciples. Those who washed dirty feet were considered to be the “lowest.” Our Savior, who deserved to have His feet washed, chose to wash the feet of his disciples and show the ultimate example of humility.
- Matt. 20:26 says, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”
- In John 13 Jesus challenges his disciples again by saying, “If I then, your Lord, and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet, for I have given you and example.”
I pray, on a regular basis, that God would give me a mindset that is “others-oriented,” relying on the Holy Spirit to show me how I can give myself away. Whether it be in big or small ways, noticed or not noticed; through a word, an action, or silence, anything that puts another before myself. It may mean meeting a need regardless of the time of day or night and being content to have, as Richard Foster describes it, “the divine nod of approval,” or, as Ephesians 6:7 says, doing service “as unto the Lord and not unto men.”
Showing hospitality is a way we can give our lives away. The word “hospitable” comes from the word “hospital.” According to the dictionary, “hospitable” means to “to treat guests with warmth and generosity.” A hospital is a place where the sick and injured go to get help. To be healed. We can act as a “hospital” to those around us by “showing hospitality.” We can show warmth and generosity, in our homes, in the grocery store, or wherever we are.
7 Ways You Can Give Your Life Away:
- Galatians 6:2 tells me to “bear one another’s burdens.”
- James 2:8 tells me to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Philippians 2:3 tells me to “regard one another as more important that yourself,” to look out for the interests of others, to have the attitude of a bond servant, as Jesus did.
- Romans 12:15 tells me to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.
- James 2:9 tells me not to show partiality.
- First Peter 5:5 tells me to clothe ourselves with humility towards one another.
- Matthew 5:44 tells me to serve even my enemies. And, finally, I am told to do unto others as we would have them do to us.
I recently spoke with a young, overwhelmed pastor’s wife. Her question to me was, “Gina, how much of myself do I have to give up?!” That’s a good question! What did Christ give up? We have seen his example of what might be considered a “small” act of service. But, his ultimate act—his death on the Cross—was also his example of how much we are called to give of ourselves.
Philippians 2 answers the young pastor’s wife’s question . . . and any of us who have asked the same question at one time or another. It says, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
On this campus. In my home. Wherever I go. Whomever I am with. Give my life away. And when I feel like I have nothing left to give . . . pray. And keep on giving.
“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.” Luke 17:10
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