When I was younger I remember watching the gameshow “Let’s Make A Deal”. Monty Hall would try and make them an offer that they couldn’t refuse. He would say, “Do you want to keep the cash or trade it for what is behind door #1!?!” It was always interesting the deal that people were willing and unwilling to walk away from. What are you willing to walk away from? What are you completely unwilling to walk away from? In Luke 5:1-11 there is an example of this, but it is suttle and is often overlooked.
Jesus is teaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, but so many people had gathered that He felt He needed to move out further so He can speak to the entire crowd more effectively. Jesus noticed a couple of empty boats, both of which happen to belong to Peter, so Jesus gets in one and asks Peter to push them out into the water so He can preach to the crowd. After Jesus preached to the crowd He told Peter, “Since we’re out here, let’s go out deeper in the water and catch some fish.”
What are you completely unwilling to walk away from?
We can tell Peter doesn’t want to do this because he is tired from fishing the night before besides the fact that they didn’t catch anything. But Peter does as Jesus asked and they catch so many fish that their nets are tearing. Peter called out for James and John, also fishermen and partners with Peter, to bring out the other boat and help. By the time they get to shore both boats were so full of fish they are about to sink.
Here’s the subtle section I was referring to…“And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
They walked away. I believe one of the greatest challenges someone faces in growing in their giving and generosity is what they are willing or unwilling to walk away from. Let’s be honest, most of us would have tried to strike a deal for a ministry/business opportunity with Jesus. We would say something like, “Jesus, I have a great idea. If we setup a business here we could each make a bunch of money and also be able to fund Your ministry.” The temptation to do this would be great. But Jesus told them it was time to go and they left.
“And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
In my work with churches doing generosity initiatives or capital campaigns I use this passage both as a sermon text when they ask me to preach and sometimes in my one-on-one discipleship with major givers. The idea here is to lovingly challenge your congregation to consider what might have such a strong hold on them that they feel they can’t walk away. Ask them to make a list of the things that would be very difficult, if not impossible for them to give up. Then challenge them to make that a daily Prayer List mentioning each one by name asking God to break the hold they each have on them.
I submit these articles and ideas to you in order to add value to the work you’re doing in your local church. If you would like to talk about this article or other ideas to grow your culture of generosity please email me. Keep me in mind if you’re looking for coaching or a consultant in the area of giving and/or a generosity campaign/initiative. If you don’t already I would also really appreciate if you would follow me on Twitter at @cstovall16 or on my Generis Facebook page.