Once upon a time, there lived a very good king in a very good kingdom. He loved his people, and his people loved him. They enjoyed abundance and peace for many years and were protected from darkness by a high wall with a strong gate. But one night, despite the only law, someone unlocked the gate, and death snuck in, stealing life from every single peasant’s home. It could not go into the castle, so it took many who lived nearby. The people cried out, and their king’s heart broke. He had warned against unlocking the gate, knowing the steep price his people would pay if the darkness found a way in. With excruciating sorrow and against all rationality, the king ransomed the peasants by letting death take his only heir, the prince, whom he loved greatly.
We as the ransomed children of God have generosity built deep into us, running through our veins with the same blood Christ spilled on the cross. The life we live is not our own: it was a gift. We are a gift. To one another, to the world, to the Father who’s raising us to look like His Son. As walking presents, then, to live is to give.
Oh, may we be people of generosity! God longs for us to hand everything away: our time, our talent, and our treasures. (If you’re short on one, give as much of it as possible and then pour out the other two like crazy.) Get creative about what you can offer and how much. The culture around us calls to hoard, to build our own names and our own kingdoms, to climb as high as we can, no matter the cost. It’s a world of consumerism, and human souls are consumed.
But we are called to another way. Ever emptying but never empty. The gifts who give and give and give. We pass along goodness, life, truth, grace, all of it just as it was passed to us: joyfully and beyond measure. Let the stingy cling to his power. Only love can loosen that white-knuckled grip. Let the selfish gloat over her stuff. Only faith can unchain her neck. It has never been for us to decide who gets freedom. It has always, ever, and only been for us to obey our good King in announcing freedom, extending it, lifting it high. The Prince has been given for us, and He returned in blazing triumph. Can we follow Him to be the generous people of a generous Sovereign?
When you boil it all down, the most costly treasures we have will be the concrete of heaven. Concrete. You think the Lord has banks full of gold? Of course not! It’s the pavement we’ll walk on. Are priceless jewels locked away in a vault? Don’t be absurd. They’re embedded in the walls like stones. Precious is a fleeting concept, its value momentary. Even the crowns we earn as we chase the kingdom ahead will be cast down at the feet of Christ. Our focus can’t match that of society: we’re not going that way. Our glance rests not on the crowns at His feet but upon the feet that have holes in them, upon the face of our Rescuer, upon His hands and head and side. Any other notion of precious falls flat.
Let us not die full (of success or self or stuff). Let us die having given all we had to give, completely used up, spent through, and poured out for the sake of the kingdom. Our Prince will restore it to its perfect state in His perfect time, and we’ll sing jubilantly of the generous love that drew us back to Him.