Comedian Jim Gaffigan describes what it’s like to have four children: “Imagine you’re drowning…and then someone hands you a baby.”
When my wife and I first heard this, we had just had our fourth and both of us almost jumped out of our seats, exclaiming “Yes! That’s exactly how it feels!”
We had already been giving so much, working so hard to keep our heads above water. How could we take care of another baby?
That feeling of drowning has diminished over time. What once seemed like it would pull us under no longer does. (My wife deserves most of the credit, for sure.) Now, a decade and a fifth child later, there’s not a one of our kids we would dream of living without.
In the midst of the struggle it felt like we were just surviving, sometimes on empty. Looking back now, it seems like there was a different kind of math at play. I’m used to a math that says 10-10=0. Give away what you have and now you have none.
Somehow, math in God’s Kingdom works differently.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
Lent invites us to give not simply from our surplus, but to give sacrificially for the sake of others. Where fasting means we go without in order to intentionally hunger, giving sacrificially means we go without so someone else can have.
This is how Christ gives.
Why would God want us to give in this way? I think one reason has to do with Kingdom math. He wants us to grow, to become the men and women He created and redeemed us to be—to become like Jesus.
To be clear, I am not encouraging you to give so much that you increase your debt or go into debt. (Doing this would be “giving” someone else’s money, not your own.) Nor am I encouraging you to ignore the reality of your own emotional, physical, and spiritual limitations. He designed us with limits, people who need to rest and to receive. I acknowledge there is a tension here, God alone is the infinite One who is always able to pour out.
But this Lent, might I encourage all of us to give more than we feel we can—more of our money, our home, our goods, our time, our energy—as an act of faith that speaks to God and to our own souls:
Jesus, I have been waiting to have more, see more, and feel like more before stepping out to live a bigger, more giving life. Please grant me Your faith to look beyond the cross and trust that all I hold in my hands is not the sum of what I possess, and all I know myself to be is not the sum of who I am.
Leave a comment below: What’s one area of your life where you were at your limit that now you see God used to grow you to become more than you once were?