Dr. Doug Posey
Try to imagine how many good deeds happen in the world as a result of people offering up what they can’t afford to give. If everyone waited until they could afford to give, very few needs would be met in our world. “Now,” you may be thinking, “here we go, a pastor making his case for giving, putting more money in the plate on Sunday.” You would be wrong if that’s your assumption. (Although you should probably increase your giving to the church!). No, my point has to do with something else.
When one has as his or her first concern meeting a need rather than how it will be met, then makes a commitment to meet it, and moves ahead with that commitment, it’s amazing to see what happens next. In some circles we call that faith. It happens when one is motivated by compassion, fueled by faith. The compassion comes as we consider the needs in others and think first of their lack, not our own inconvenience. The faith comes as we begin taking steps to meet that need even before all the resources are in place, or our own comfort levels have been satisfied.
When something compels us to act, our first concern is not whether or not we have our own needs fulfilled, or even if there are adequate resources to get the job done. A passion to see the thing happen pushes us forward. Love is a compelling force. If you are married and especially if you “tied the knot” at an early age, remember the steps you willingly took, joyfully moving ahead, though you were financially uncertain, or in other ways not sure about provision concerning a potential family, career, or home. The love you had for each other, your faith in God to provide, plus your willingness to work hard to do what it would take, provided the right stuff to sustain you despite a lack of tangible assets. That’s an example of what I’m talking about.
Sometimes I look around at this entity we call Living Oaks Church and marvel at how God used a passion for His Word, compassion for the lost, a desire to see people grow in Him and a handful of people committed to starting a new Church in the Conejo Valley and turned it into what LOC is today. God uses that process over and over to start and grow His church. It’s miraculous to watch. From virtually nothing to thousands of people finding hope and help in Christ where they wouldn’t have otherwise over the years. But, it takes people with the willingness and passion to move ahead, even before all the resources are in place, not concerned about themselves, along with the faith that God is going to provide.
Think about a family that decides to take on a foster child. There is plenty of preparation, vetting and scrutiny in order to make sure—both on the part of those doing the placing and those on the receiving end—that there is a good chance of success. There is a counting of the cost. But, no one can fully estimate or prepare completely for the potential emotional investment, or other unforeseen “expenses” that will be associated with the commitment. Just as with marriage, or planting a church, love for people is an essential ingredient.
Love compelled Christ to do what He did for us. Love compelled Paul to do what He did for Christ and the Gospel. Love must compel us to do any great endeavor we do worth doing. Planting a church, marrying, or even preaching a message. Francis Chan makes a good point about that one:
…I ask myself…this: Do I genuinely love the people I'm about to speak to? So often I find that if I'm nervous before speaking, it is because of sin—the sin of elevating how others perceive me above being obedient to God. That is pride, not love.
When Jesus fed the five thousand, it started with compassion for the crowd. Jesus loved the people. The reaction of the disciples was, “Send them away…” (Matt. 14:15). Their tangible assets were few and they seemingly lacked the compassion Jesus had. But, Jesus taught them a lesson. “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” (vs. 16). The lesson? Love people. Move forward. If Christ is in it, He multiplies; little becomes much. He will do great things, but it starts with compassion and requires His power.
“Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”