Habitude 2: “Give Up” More Than “Give To”
By Jean Johnson
Was Jesus’ primary invitation to the rich young ruler about giving everything to the poor or about inviting him to become poor for a purpose?
Jesus told the rich young man: “Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me” (Matthew 19:21).
In this case, “give to the poor” is intimately connected to “follow me.” It seems Jesus was inviting the rich young man to join His team empty handed with a full heart of faith and sacrifice.
Interestingly, three fishermen standing nearby left everything to follow Jesus on His mission (Luke 5:11).
Looking back on my mission experience, the Western mission culture of the day influenced us to spend more time on figuring out what we could gather and give, rather than what we could give up in order to give ourselves more fully. When this is the case, mission practices become dependent on trappings of affluence and the missionaries’ ability to spread that affluence in the host environment.
From my perspective—as it relates to missions and missionaries—it is easier to give riches than to give up riches to participate in the Great Commission through an incarnational lifestyle and strategy. Sadly when this happens, the relational and strategic costs are significant!
Gandhi once told his missionary friends:
Noble as you are, you have isolated yourselves from the people you want to serve.
David Picton Jones once wrote:
Our life . . . is far above them, and we are surrounded by things entirely beyond their reach. The consequence is, that they . . . cannot follow us.
The unreached places of the world are unreached for a reason and it will take a generation of ‘missionaries’ who are willing to ‘give up’ in order to follow Jesus to these difficult places and incarnate the gospel in a way that people can follow.
With these thoughts in mind, I invite you to cultivate the habitude of ‘giving up’ more than ‘giving to.’ This habitude will empower you to prove Gandhi and Picton wrong.
To Sharpen this DAY 1 affects DAY 100 Habitude:
1.Read through the gospels and the book of Acts and identify what Jesus and the many disciples of Jesus gave up to follow Him on mission.
2.Prayerfully identify what goods, services, comforts, economic inequities, and money-driven strategies that Jesus is asking you to give up so as to follow Him on mission; and to make disciples who can readily make more disciples.
3. Develop a daily rhythm of life that allows you to rest and renew, while living in a context of ‘giving up.’
Visit Habitude 1: Believe Jesus is Worthwhile Based on His Own Merit
Visit the introduction to DAY 1 affects DAY 100 Habitudes
DAY 1 affects DAY 100 is part of Five Stones Global’ branding and a quote from the book We Are Not The Hero: A Missionary’s Guide For Sharing Christ, Not a Culture of Dependency.
A habitude is a mixture of attitudes and habits.
First Quote: Quoted in Jonathan Bonk, Missions and Money, p. 53.
Second Quote: Quoted in Jonathan Bonk, Missions and Money, p. 11.