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What is God challenging you to do today for Self Denial?

by Eda Hokom, Major –

Self Denial can evoke a multiplicity of vivid images, usually of hungry children, deplorable housing and very poor medical care. But Self Denial is so much more. Yes, the funds help to alleviate the sufferings of others, help to encourage incredibly poor countries, help to build desperately needed housing, schools and hospitals. But it also helps each of us.

Self Denial increases our understanding of mercy and compassion by introducing us to the needs of others, both in and out of our “American” world. It teaches us to be thankful that we all serve one God, who loves us immeasurably, regardless of where we live, what language we speak or our economic status.

Self Denial is more than just giving of our monetary resources. It helps us to build relationships with God and others, by focusing on more than our immediate needs. For you see, Self Denial is really:
– giving back to God out of love for him,
– giving back to God by sharing what He has given us,
– giving back to God by saying we really do care.

As a young child, I first learned about tithing when I received 50 cents in my allowance. I knew that a nickel of it needed to go into my “cartridge” on Sunday. When I learned about Self Denial, I learned that it was giving more than the nickel and that it was giving to help others.

My parents and corps officers taught that practicing Self Denial was really good for me, as well as others. It taught me the importance of responsibility, and of caring for and helping others. I learned the joy of giving. I learned that I could do something to help change the world a little at a time. And then, as a missionary to Papua New Guinea, I become the recipient of the Self Denial effort.

Self Denial is for all—even in Papua New Guinea where the children collected soda pop bottles and brought them to the corps for their Self Denial effort. They had no shoes to wear, they had maybe one change of clothing, often ate only one meal a day, were often not able to attend school for lack of money to pay the fees. And yet, they gave.

They gave from their poverty (their bottle collecting often meant a meal for the family) and joy radiated from their faces. Their lives were changed because they gave.

What is God challenging you to do today for Self Denial?

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