Gain What You Cannot Lose


Dear Friend of Bethlehem College & Seminary,

As we wrap up this special series of prayer letters focused on 2 Corinthians 8–9, I trust it has become clear that generosity and giving, as a critical part of the Christian life, are keys to our delight and joy in this life. That is, we derive great joy from giving generously to those in need and for the sake of the advancement of the Gospel.

The concepts of generosity and joyful giving are not exclusive to Christianity, but the magnitude of the joy and delight received through them is exclusive to those whose lives have been transformed by saving faith in Jesus Christ. When we begin to focus our lives on eternity and the glorious future that awaits us who have put our hope in the King of Kings, freely giving away our worldly resources is much easier to do and much more satisfying in the process. With our eternal perspective, we begin to realize more and more the transitory nature of material goods and wealth. It will all vanish some day and we can’t take it with us!

That truth was so beautifully and powerfully stated by missionary Jim Elliot before he was martyred: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” It also echoes the words of Jesus to his disciples: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).

Radically generous giving is not only the way the Lord has chosen to fuel the work of the church and all other Christian ministries in this life, but it is wise, it is good, and it is always for our joy. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that “God loves a cheerful giver.” Why? Because cheerful, generous giving is unmistakable evidence of a heart that is trusting in the Lord for all things. Those who give cheerfully in the name of Jesus know and understand that we have been given the greatest, most valuable gift in the universe—Jesus Christ, our savior and Lord. No amount of earthly treasure or wealth can compare to this amazing gift. In fact, we are at great risk of demeaning the gift of Jesus when we are tempted to value our earthly treasures more than him.

So brothers and sisters, may the Lord bless us as we seek our own joy, the good of others, and the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through our generous and joyful giving.

May the Lord bless you with a joyous Christmas season as you reflect on the matchless gift of Jesus—Immanuel, God with us!

Seeking true joy in the Lord with you,

Tim Tomlinson
Bethlehem College & Seminary

Prayer Requests …

  1. Please pray for sweet days of rest and refreshment for our faculty, staff and students over Christmas break.
  2. Pray also for some of our students who are struggling financially. I’m aware of at least a couple of students who may not be able to return second semester because of financial concerns. Pray that the Lord would miraculously provide for them.
  3. And, please pray for a remarkable outpouring of financial gifts over these last two weeks of the year. We have a great need, but we maintain our trust in the Lord through it all.