Paradox Paradise

“You mean… you’re just going to give it away? But we need that money!”

My husband had decided to give away our remaining piano before we moved back to New Zealand. We could’ve sold it for about 4000RMB, around $800NZ. I was pregnant with our third child, money was tight, and I was anxious about all our up-coming expenses. How could my husband think this was a good time to be overly generous?

He had a student who needed a piano, a Christian family, and he felt very strongly that God was telling him to just give it to them for nothing. What could I say? I know what I wanted to say… but I’d learnt to trust my husband’s lead, so all I could say was… “alright, if that’s what you think we should do…”  

A week (or maybe several) later, the family came back to us and said, “we feel that God has asked us to give you some money for this piano. I chose the numbers 3 and 7, because they seemed like good biblical numbers, and I’ve multiplied them together and added a few zeros… here’s an envelope with 21,000RMB in it!”  

How could it be that when I let go… when we give away, when we don’t try to gain for ourselves, even when it hurts… we could end up with more than we could’ve imagined?  

Jesus seems to have taught a lot of things that don’t make sense to our natural minds… a lot of paradoxes. Look at all these paradoxes in the bible…

  • Finding through losing (Matt. 10:39)
  • Living through dying (John 12:24)
  • Freedom through servitude (Rom. 6:18)
  • Gaining through losing (Phil. 3:7-8)
  • Receiving through giving (Acts 20:35)
  • Strength through weakness (2 Cor. 12:10)
  • Exaltation through humility (James 4:10, Phil. 2:8-9)  

The thing is, these paradoxes all seem so foolish to our human minds! What do you mean if I want to be first I must be last (Matt. 20:16)? If I want to be a leader, I must be the servant (Matt. 20:26)? How are we supposed to understand all these paradoxes? 

I think Jesus was alluding to a secret… there was another place where things were different. A place where we can store up treasure that never rusts, where the merciful and meek win out, where the sufferers and mourners are blessed, a place that He knew so well but was so unlike what we know now. But like I learned with giving away the piano, I’m not sure it can be intellectualised… our minds just can’t comprehend it. But it comes alive when we just believe and obey… have those paradoxes come alive for you?