I am discovering the truth that the early church fathers believed and taught... that consecration to God = self-donation. Rather than simply donating from their aquired possessions, these men and women of faith and vision instead donated of themselves. This type of donation requires greater sacrifice and a promises a greater return. Jesus promised as much to His followers when he said, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." "Deny" is a hard word to grasp in that it does not define the gift, but instead defines the void created by the giving. To "deny" myself is sometimes thought of as something I do without for a time. But "deny" is also a synonym for "surrender" which is more than just giving up of things. It means giving up my agendas, my paradigms, my need to be right... giving up me... all in amsolute surrender to God. This type of surrender is at the root of all Biblical teaching on stewardship. Giving God's tithe back to Him is little when compared to the concept of self-donation.
But self-donation is a much wider concept than our thoughts about tithing, in that my SELF is a much wider subject than just my money. All of me is understood when I talk about self-donation. How can I become challenged to consider self-donation?
1. What parts of myself have I become accustomed to donating to God? Are their other parts of me that God may require?
2. What are the sacrifices associated with the parts of myself which I have donated to God? What potential sacrifice may be required if I donated additional areas of myself to God?
3. Is additional self-donation something that brings me closer to God? or God closer to me? How?
4. Is there anyone in scripture that models this idea of self-donation? How about someone alive today that models this well? What can I learn from them?