Day 5: Give Your All
I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got.
1Corinthians 9:26 The Message
I was a math major. I can still work an algebra problem and find joy when the variable is defined. My love for math and children propelled me to become a teacher. When it came to language, history, writing I went through the motions to make the grade.
I attended a state university where my fellow students often teased me about my twangy accent. I thought all Texans talked like me. I was wrong. Speech class left me in hives, beyond nervous at the thought of speaking in front of my peers.
Ironic isn’t it? Today, I often speak in front of adults. I write constantly. Honestly, my writing isn’t great. If it weren’t for the sister editing my every word, it would make no sense at all. Recently I found an online program to help with my writing. Yesterday I purchased a book to educate myself even further on the art of writing. Because I want to give it my all. To be as good as I can be.
From the moment I sensed the reality of God and His love for me, I wanted to do my best. Nothing less will do. For me it means being willing to pour out all I have and trust He will find a way to use it in my life, and the life of others.
If He can take my meager gift and use it, He can do the same for you.
From the moment He captured my heart, one of the first conversations I had with Him, was about setting the groundwork for our relationship.
I told Him I would believe His Word, take it as truth, and if I had a problem with His Word the problem was with me and not Him. I told Him He was right and I was wrong in every way. I said I would obey to the best of my understanding. I was all in and there was no turning back.
To be all in, when you don’t know what that really means… well, it can make for some rocky one-way roads. But the journey is always worth it.
We’ve seen the reasons to give: we are bought at a price and all we have comes from Him. We’ve talked about what to give: the fruit we bear and the grace we receive. But just how much are we to give? To what extent?
Read Mark 4:1-20
What is Jesus teaching about? What metaphor does He use?
Jesus tells a story about a sower of the Word and how what is sown fares in the places it falls: hard-packed path, rocky ground, weedy earth, good soil (Mark 4:3-8). Each depicts a heart, an attitude, a mindset toward God and the world (Mark 4:14-20).
The path is totally sold out to the world’s way, they may hear the Word, but it has no place to grow. The ideologies of the world steal it away before it ever has a chance to germinate and take root.
The rocky heart hears the Word, receives it with joy! Longs for it to be an escape from the burdens of life. But when things get tough, there are no roots for it to hold on. No trust in Him and His Way. The roots of the Word have not been allowed to push out individual sensibilities. Trusting Him seems like a sure road to loss. So the way of the Word is abandoned.
A heart overgrown with brambles hears the Word, but it is divided. The Word does not get the weedy heart’s full attention. Temptations of the world – riches, self-indulgence – distract. Or maybe it’s the cares of the world which crowd out the Word. The need for success and security. The lies of wealth, draw attention from the Word. His Way isn’t given room to grow. It was never meant to compete, so it never bears fruit.
Then there is the good soil. If you know much about gardening, you know good soil is free of weeds and rocks. It’s soft. A seed nestles down in the good ground and germinates. Takes root. Grows. Bears far more fruit than what was planted.
A good heart prepared for His Word fully embraces His Word in the same way. Opposite from the other types of hearts. It grabs onto the Word before it is stolen. Takes hold of it as truth, trusting His Way even when it seems like a sure path of destruction and foolishness in the eyes of the world. The good heart gives His Word undivided attention. Not giving into the cares or temptations it faces.
The only way to bear fruit to give, is to give your all to His Word and His Way. Seeing life from an eternal perspective. Laying aside the urgencies of the world to pursue the eternal.
In the middle of the passage, Mark 4:10-12, Jesus tells His disciples why He speaks in parables. He didn’t explain the parable of the sower to the crowds, only to the twelve. Why do you think?
The twelve were fully committed. They had left behind businesses, careers, family, and the promises of the world to follow Him. Because they were giving their all to the utmost of their faith, they were blessed with understanding. He invests His knowledge and revelations in those who are sold out to His Way. The ones who see no other way.
Read Mark 4:21-25
What are we to pay attention to? Why?
Do you see a connection between the lamp and what we are to pay attention to? Explain.
These words of Jesus follow immediately after His explanation of the seeds sown. When we pay attention to what we hear, we use it, allowing it to transform our hearts and lives. We test it. To the measure we attend to and obey the Word, faith will be added to our lives through understanding.
The Word heard is sown in the unseen recesses of the heart. When embraced by the hearer, it brings light to their lives. When we live by His Word, we become lamps shining light in the dark world. What is sown is to be tended to and used to glorify Him.
It’s what we were created for, His glory.
Read Psalm 19:1-2
What does the day do? Why?
The day pours itself out to declare the glory of God. From sunrise to sunset, through every phase of the moon, it is all for His glory. A 24/7/365 pouring out!
Poured out. Those are the words which seem to depict giving your all. Perseverance is close, overcoming hardship. But pouring out means giving your all to whatever He calls you, to embrace Him and His way wholeheartedly. Be all in.
Pour yourself out for His glory.
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
After reading the parable of the sower, consider your own heart. What type of ground lies in your heart? Explain your answer.
What in the world distracts you from the Word and His way? What cares? concerns? bright shiny things?
What in yourself keeps you from trusting the Word when life gets hard? Identify what keeps you giving your all.
Talk it over with God:
Ask God to open your eyes to the places your heart has been deceived by the world and the promises it offers. Ask Him to open your heart to the truth of the satisfaction, joy, peace, and love received by being poured out for His Kingdom and for His glory.
Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
Philippians 2:17 ESV
Exercise Your Faith
Ask God how you can pour yourself out for another today. Visit someone in the hospital, plant seeds in your neighbors flowerbed, commit to teach Sunday school or lead a children’s class.
Don’t worry about your ability, take the first step and give it your all.
Give is the word we emphasize today. Say it loud. Say it again.
And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Acts 20:35b NKJV
What thoughts come to mind as you consider give? What has God revealed to you? Is He calling your to pour something out? give something away? love when you tend to judge?
How is He calling you to give your all?