By Fylvia Fowler Kline, Assistant Director, General Conference Stewardship

Summary: Excerpts from Calvin Miller’s Into the Depths of God that makes real the relationship between sacrifice, stewardship, and worship.

I usually read books at a pre-determined frenzied pace, always beginning and ending right on schedule. Occasionally though, along comes a book that enticingly wraps itself around the tendrils of my thirsty soul, urging me to slow down, to drench myself in the refreshing pages. Calvin Miller’s Into the Depths of God (Bethany House Publishers, copyright 2000) is one such book. Miller makes real the relationship between sacrifice, stewardship, and worship:

There is a great clawed worm that stalks every one of us and makes us quail before the future. It’s the dragon of ?What if?’ What if I lose my job? What if my paycheck doesn’t come on time? What if they cut my pay? What if the bank goes bust with my money in it?

But the what-if’s of life all seem to say, ?I told you so,’ when the material guarantees of life begin to fail. . . . To desire only what Christ gives and not to desire Christ himself is to be bought off by little trinkets, never to own the greater treasure of the indwelling presence. . . . Christ is to impact our lives with such force that all our ?wants’ are changed from thing material to things eternal. ( pp 82, 83)

Without self-denial, every eater is a glutton, every earner is a larcenist, every lover is a rapist. So at the outset of our call to follow Jesus is His entreaty—stern and yet beautiful—?If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me’ (p 23)

Grace is never a show-off that calls attention to itself. The overwhelming wonder of all God has done for us and given to us washes us with quiet gratitude. A rhythm then comes in with His visitations of spiritual plenty. His grace comes and goes, furnishing us with everything beautiful in life. Suddenly we awaken to the wonder, and feel ashamed that we have lived so long never thanking him for his abundance . . . . When Jesus Christ comes into our lives with soul-force, something is born in us that says, ?I can make
a difference. I can reach my world. I can live for him as I sacrifice myself for Him
(pp 39, 40).