Last night I gave away an oreo pie, a jean jacket, ten bucks, and a blind date in girls’ class. All in the name of making a point.
The give-aways were actually a step toward learning about ourselves, determining what things are important to us, what our priorities and dreams and worries are. We did all of this in service to one question: What one thing would you be most unwilling to give up?
We’re studying sacrifice this semester and last night we issued a pretty serious challenge, a la Jesus’ challenge to the rich young ruler. I talked about how Jesus asked him to give up all his stuff. Jesus didn’t ask other people to sell all their stuff. Just this guy.
Why? Well, I think it’s because Jesus knew it was the one thing he wouldn’t give up.
We also looked at other examples of Jesus requiring some kind of unique sacrifice from the unwilling. For example, Jesus asks the disciple who wants to follow but needs to bury his father first to skip the funeral—not because funerals are bad but because Jesus knew this guy wouldn’t give that up.
In the context of “counting the cost” to follow Him, Jesus says that some people will give up lands or homes or even family members. Not everyone needs to leave their home or their livelihood, but some do.
Who? The people who think they can’t.
A few years ago I asked a group of women to fast over lunch—we would fast and pray for an upcoming event. Out of about 50 women, one fasted. The most common reason for saying no? “I love food too much. I just can’t go without it.”
I said to my girls last night, and I believe it in my heart, that whatever it is we think we could never give up (be it food or shopping or our house or Grey’s Anatomy) that’s the thing we most need to do without.
We need to understand that God is the only thing we absolutely need. That everything else is extra. Going out to eat is so relaxing for me, but if Justin lost his job tomorrow and eating out became impossible, I’d be just fine. A family, even, is a wonderful blessing. But if mine all died tomorrow, I’d still be okay. Because I have God.
Because of all this, I asked about 60 girls to make a BIG sacrifice this week. I told them to figure out what it was that they’d be most unlikely to give up… and to give it up. Some of us will be fasting from food for a couple days this week. Some of us will be going without makeup. Some of the girls are going on a boyfriend fast—sorry boyfriends—and some of them will be fasting from worry.
I’m in on this, too. I promised to fast from shopping for the entire month of October. It’s ambitious, but the plan is to only buy groceries (no clothes or accessories or stuff for the house or baby gear). It won’t be easy for me—I LOVE shopping—but I refuse to let it be said of me that I was unwilling to give up a shallow habit in service to Christ.
There are bigger things to give up, certainly, but we can all start somewhere.