ODJ: True Sacrifice

April 23, 2016 

READ: Ephesians 3:14-21 

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit (v.16).

“The Giving Pledge,” formed in 2009 by billionaire founders Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, is a campaign to encourage the world’s wealthiest people to give away most of their cash to help others. Buffett himself is taking the lead and plans to donate 99 percent of his wealth by the time he dies. This is an incredibly generous act! But it’s interesting to note that his present worth is $72.3 billion, meaning that if he gives away 99 percent of his wealth, he’ll still have $700 million remaining.

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 3 reveals that no matter how wealthy someone is, those who are in Christ have far greater riches. We have access to God’s “glorious, unlimited resources” which “empower [us] with inner strength through his Spirit” (v.16). These nonmonetary riches include a love that is so immense that we can scarcely know its dimensions (v.19). What’s more, Jesus is able to “accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” for those who believe in Him (v.20).

This being the case, we should also realize that sacrifice isn’t really sacrifice for us—not for those who are relationally rich in Christ. So even though we hear repeated calls for sacrificial giving in Scripture, as in the story of the widow’s offering or the example of the Good Samaritan (a man who gave his own time and money to care for an enemy), we should always do the math (found in Mark 12:41—44; Luke 10:30—37).

As we do, we’ll find that we’re so abundantly rich in Jesus that sacrifice isn’t truly sacrifice for us. We remain the recipients of God’s “unlimited resources”—resources for us to freely extend to others (Ephesians 3:16)!

—Peter Chin

365-day-plan: 2 Kings 2:1-12

Read 2 Corinthians 8:1—5 and consider what prompted the Macedonians to be so generous 
Do you feel rich in Jesus? Why or why not? How can you better remind yourself of your great wealth in Christ?