Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota

Devotional: Giving and sacrificing are not the same

Added on Thursday, August 16, 2018

Written by Emma Roos, social media manager at The Salvation Army Northern Division

There is a story in the New Testament that I keep coming back to. It’s Luke 10:29-37, the story of the Good Samaritan. Let me quickly set the scene.

A lawyer wanted to further test Jesus about the greatest commandment, which is found in Luke 10:27 – “…Love your neighbor as yourself.'” The lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” To demonstrate a point, Jesus replied with a parable (a short story).

In this parable, a man is robbed while traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Two people traveled by this dying man and ignored his plea for help before another man – a Samaritan – stopped to help. This Samaritan went out of his way to help by cleaning his wounds, pouring out expensive oil and wine, and taking him to an inn to be taken care of.

When Jesus concluded his story, He turned to the lawyer and asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” As to be expected, the lawyer replied that it was the Good Samaritan – the man who had mercy on the fallen. Upon hearing this, Jesus encouraged the lawyer to “Go and do likewise.”

In this story, Jesus asks us to see the people on our path and invites us to freely give away our resources to those who could benefit from them.

When I think about this story, my mind drifts to the idea of giving out of our abundance or, in other words, the items of which we have more than enough. However, it’s easy to confuse giving out of our abundance with sacrificing for others. Unlike the former, when a person sacrifices something, they are choosing to give away that which holds value for them. It’s important to understand the difference.

A few weeks ago I felt the Lord ask me, “What are you sacrificing in my name? How are you sharing the resources I’ve given to you?”

Honestly, I didn’t have a good answer. I live a comfortable life full of love, stability and resources, with little regard for the people outside of my immediate circle. I wasn’t sacrificing anything. I wasn’t sharing my resources. It became so blatantly obvious why the parable in Luke 10:29-37 continued to reappear in my thoughts. I wasn’t living like the Good Samaritan.

I think it’s important that we live fully in the blessings that God bestows upon us, but we should also be willing to ask ourselves, “Am I willing to sacrifice, if the Lord asks me to?”

When I asked myself this question I felt challenged to hold the resources that He’s given me loosely and look for the people on my path who may need them.

Sacrificing will look different for each of us. Today ask God to reveal what that might mean for you. What is God asking you to sacrifice? How can you be more intentional about sharing your resources?