Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? - Luke 9:23-25
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who protested Hitler’s rise to power. Bonhoeffer was living abroad when Hitler took control of the country, and he intentionally moved back to Germany to resist the Nazi party. He became part of the Confessing Church, which was an underground Christian movement of people who were opposed to Nazi influence. In his 1937 book The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” In 1943, Bonhoeffer was arrested for his part in resisting the Nazis. Two years later he was executed.
As we think about what it means to be givers this week - and the natural flourishing that God intends for our giving to produce in our own lives and in the world around us - we can’t deny that there is also sacrifice involved. Sure, we’re not all going to be Dietrich Bonhoeffer. But we’re all called into the sacrificial kind of giving that he lived out, willingly giving himself away for the kingdom of God to come more fully on earth.
Read over the words of Jesus again and hold the tension that they create when they speak of both losing life and gaining life. Where is Jesus speaking to you in that tension today?