From Donation to Sacrifice

June 6th, 2013
Creative Commons | Boston Public Library

I believe that when we become Christian, there is one new birth but many conversions. I became a new person in Jesus in 1969, but I wasn’t converted in my wallet until 1976.

I was in seminary at the time. About two weeks before graduation, one of my professors pulled me aside. He said, “Mike, if you are not tithing, please do not go into ministry. Don’t pollute the church. Go teach school or something. We don’t need any more people in the church who preach, ‘Do what I say, not what I do.’”

That simple conversation hit me hard. I was converted. I realized that loving God is not about saying the right words, accepting an abstract ideal, or claiming an emotion. Loving God is an intentional commitment to self-sacrifice for the well-being of others. That is why God’s word tells us, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous in every way” (2 Corinthians 9:11).

There’s an old story about a conversation between a chicken and a pig. The chicken says, “Let’s do breakfast.” The pig replies, “That’s easy for you to say. You just make a donation. For me, it’s a total life sacrifice.” If we are to be followers of Jesus, then we are the pig, not the chicken. We have to move from donation to sacrifice, from consuming to investing.

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