Monday, January 25, 2016

THE CALLING TO GIVE by Gary Wilkerson

It was the night of the Last Supper, and Jesus was winding down His final conversation with the disciples. Everything He said that evening was with the knowledge that He was about to leave them. He concluded the gathering with an encouraging prayer about things to come—a Church that would overcome and be triumphant; a people whose love for each other would be a testimony to the world; a divine power and authority flowing through His followers; and the glory of the Father resting on His people. These were all things Jesus would give to His Church through the Holy Spirit.

Think about what Jesus had already done. In three years of ministry He had healed the sick; restored eyesight to the blind; raised the dead; miraculously fed huge crowds; preached the good news to the poor; and taught the masses the truth about their heavenly Father. This is an amazing list of accomplishments by the Son through His obedience to the Father’s will.

Christ makes clear that all of this was a result of the Father’s giving nature. In His prayer in John 17, one word (give) comes up more than any other. “Father, you have given me . . . you have given them . . . I have given them.” In the space of 26 verses, Jesus uses some form of the word “give” seventeen times.

The first thing we notice in this amazing prayer is how often and generously the Father gives. It’s in His nature to give good gifts to His children. He listed all that He would give His Son when He sent Him: “I’ll give You the power and authority of My name. I’ll give You the people of the earth. I’ll give You words to speak and works to accomplish. And I will give You My glory.”

In turn, we see that Jesus has the same giving nature as His Father. In fact, His prayer recounts all the things Christ had already given His disciples—and the things He would continue to give! This passage powerfully spotlights the giving nature at the center of God’s heart.

In a sense, that evening Jesus gave the disciples His last will and testament. He was saying, “I established My kingdom by giving. And here’s how I want My kingdom to continue through you.” The last thing He gave His followers before leaving them was a particular calling—the calling to give.