Set your face

One of the challenges of talking to people about generosity is that no one thinks they’re stingy. They think other people are stingy, but not them. One of the reasons is that there is so much wealth all around us, almost no one ever feels like they’ve arrived.

Some folks think that generosity is only about money, which they give in place of their time.

Some folks think that because they volunteer, they don’t need to give financially.

Some are generous with their time and money, but guard their hearts. They don’t invest emotionally in anyone.

Luke says that the time had come for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, and so he set out “resolutely” for Jerusalem. Most translations say Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

Have you ever “set your face” to do something?

It’s going to be excruciatingly hard, but you know you’ve got to do it, so you’re not in the mood for small talk. This was that kind of moment for Jesus, except that what Jesus had to do was die on the cross for all of humankind.

Luke says that immediately people started coming up to Jesus to say they wanted to follow him. To one after the other, Jesus responded in seemingly strange ways.

“Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

“Let the dead bury their own dead.”

“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Translation: Following me will require all of you. It will mean giving up your comfortable life, your family, and your accomplishments.

It’s hard to live generously in all of life, but that’s what Jesus was calling those potential followers to do.

The only way to do it is to appreciate what Jesus had “set his face” to do.

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