(Post by Miriam Riad)
“Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” – Genesis 2:7
There’s a song that we sing a lot at my church, called “Great Are You Lord.” And every time we sing these lines, the chorus, it make me pause for a moment:
It’s Your breath
In our lungs
So we pour out our praise We pour out our praise
The breath in my lungs isn’t mine. It’s a bit frightening when you think about it long enough. Each deep inhale and slow exhale is granted to me. The hours, minutes, seconds, are not mine. The money that I make – also not mine. The people around me – my family, my friends – they belong to God. And all of these things are gifts, and He decided to share them with us and entrust them to us. So what we will do with them?
“If He should determine to do so, If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, All flesh would perish together, And man would return to dust.”-Job 34:14-15
It’s a freeing thought. There’s nothing I need to guard or protect, because God is my protector and provider and my treasure is in heaven. I don’t have to worry about finances. This truth has become more real to me since graduating from college. Living in one of the most expensive cities in the country, with an entry level job in a low-paying industry, it has been tempting for me at times to withhold generosity. It’s easy for me to justify not giving with practical thoughts that mask as wisdom – I need to save, I need to have money for my future, and so on. As if my future belonged to me.
And while God wants us to be wise stewards, it’s important to remember we are simply that: stewards of His resources. I don’t have to worry about having enough of anything. There is no greater example of this freedom than Jesus. He is the most free human in existence, and see how He lived – giving always. Jesus gave of His time, His energy, His life, his blood freely – because he wasn’t living for this brief moment. How much more freely would we give – of our money, our love, our selves – if we realized that all this does not belong to us anyway? When we have nothing, nothing can hold us back. How we give is a deep indicator if we truly believe that God is good, that He keeps His promises to provide and to be enough for us.
The beauty of following God is that there are so many different ways to give. Every area of our lives can become sacred unto Him. This Lent, let us take time and reflect that we are not our own. Examine areas where we are living as if our time, our money, whatever it is, is ours.
“…nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things…”-Acts 17:25
God does not call us to give because He needs our dollars and cents, because He needs what we can give. It’s an invitation to freedom, an invitation to blessedness – “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It’s an invitation to partaking in Christ’s nature and joy.