At the end of 2012, I donated half my salary to charity to fight human trafficking. I had saved for the entire year to make one check for $10,000.
I don’t say this to brag, at all.
I say this because I’m a selfish person. I love comfort, my shiny things, the safety of a new gadget and adding things to my wish list. I am naturally lazy and indulgent and self-absorbed.
But I also believe in a God who humbled Himself to become one of us. I believe in a God who paid an infinite price to set us free. I believe in a God who wrote Himself into the story of humanity to enter our struggle, to lead us into life, and to ultimately exchange our brokenness for grace.
Because I believe in a God who has this sort of heart —
I am compelled to have the same heart for others.
The selflessness of God utterly melted my selfishness to pieces. His grace tenderized my conceited heart. I gave my life away because God did the same for me.
Of course, we should help people just to help people. But so often it’s like performing on a stage or validating your existence or getting a pat on the back, and it becomes selfish again.
Jesus showed us the embedded fabric of our human reality: that we are designed to love one another even at a great cost to ourselves, and even if no one notices. He tells us there is no greater love than he who lays down his life for his friends. I’ve experienced it, and I can tell you: giving your life away is when life most makes sense. Writing that check is probably the first time I actually felt like a Christian.
Compassion sounds lovely until it costs you something. When you are compassionate at your convenience or to expect applause, that’s the easy thing. But when it kills the selfish part of you without reimbursement: that’s the right thing.
After I had donated to the organization One Day’s Wages, they graciously set up a fundraiser to match another $10,000. It went to about $2000. I was super thankful, but honestly, also a bit bummed out. I was really hoping to raise more, and maybe that was my conceitedness again.
Then someone anonymously donated $8,085 and we hit $20,000. I was absolutely floored and humbled. Floored at the generosity, and humbled by the anonymity.
I am realizing: We can’t do this without God. But more than that: I wouldn’t even want to.
I hope you know this God on the cross. I hope you know this Creator who has made us for more. I hope He drives your hope.
He loves us, and He calls us to do likewise.