Living Sacrifice

April 29, 2007 at 10:30 pm (Faith)

For the last several weeks our church has been in the middle of our "Seize the Moment" campaign for building on our 40 acres of land. This is the 3rd financial campaign since we’ve been at the church – the first two to raise funds for land (which God so graciously provided at an AMAZING price). It is finally time to begin building and we are so excited.

So of course we’ve been talking a lot about giving – and giving sacrificially for the building campaign. Everyone is at a different point financially and a different point in their faith and so I’m sure this campaign has stirred up many thoughts in people. But for Mark and I the giving is just a no-brainer. God has blessed us SOOOO much in the area of our finances – not that we make huge salaries or anything  – but since we’ve gotten our act together to get out of debt, etc. God has just continued to show up in big ways, so much that I don’t doubt his provision.

So really the decision boiled down to what to give. That idea got a lot less "comfortable" a month or so ago when I found out that I would be losing my PT stay-at-home job (that I’ve had for 4+ yrs) at the end of June. Whooosh! That was the sound of all our "extra" money going out of the budget. Money that would have been EASY to give to God for the building campaign. Suddenly things got a little more interesting 🙂 We started brainstorming ways to cut expenses, etc.

Then, just for good measure, God kind of pounded the point home last Tuesday during our Beth Moore Daniel study. She spent most of the lesson talking about  our need to SACRIFICE. Not just in our finances, for that is
just a portion of the picture.

Romans 12:1 call us to “offer your bodies
as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of
worship.”

 What does it mean to sacrifice? Well, sacrifice is really
the antithesis of selfishness. And boy do we live in a selfish world! Over and
over we are bombarded with messages.

“Why should I have to wait?”

“Why shouldn’t I be comfortable?”

“Why shouldn’t I have what that person has?” (YEAH, that’s a
big one!)

2 Tim 3:1-5 describes a godless society, “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers
of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their
parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without
self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but
denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

I see a lot of that in the world around me – and of course
in me at times.

But Christ calls on us to make ourselves a living sacrifice.
It may mean going without “stuff”. Or it may mean giving up doing something we
enjoy because the time would be better spent elsewhere.

Beth commented that “if we give into the message of
selfishness we can miss our life
purpose.” WOW! That one hit really hit me. How tragic for me to stand before
God someday and have to explain why I missed out on the purpose he had for my
life because I wasn’t willing to make the necessary sacrifices.

Mark 14:3-6 tells a story that took on new meaning for me
today.

While he (Jesus) was in

Bethany

, reclining at the
table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an
alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar
and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were
saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could
have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the
poor." And they rebuked her harshly.

"Leave her alone," said
Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

This woman made a sacrifice. She took something of great worth and, without
thought to what others might think, literally poured it out on Jesus.

Sacrifice SHOULDN’T be comfortable. It should make you catch your breath. It should make you rely a little harder on God.

Verse 9 of that same story continues, "I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the
world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." And it’s true. We’re still talking about it today. What will our legacy be – what car we drove? how big our house was?

Or will it be what we did with our time, talents and treasures?

 

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2 Comments

  1. Stacey said,

    You did an excellent job of summing this up Julie. I know what you mean about it stirring up a lot inside. Jeff and I have sat and had some good long talks about what God would have us do. It is hard to take a leap of faith but knowing that He’s going to catch us is the only way we can do it!

  2. Mark said,

    Sacrifice = the surrender of something prized or desirable (something we love) for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim (something we love more). We just need to do a better job of identifying our true values and priorities and then sacrifice for those in order of importance. Mine are: God, Spouse, Kids, Family, Friends, Job, other.

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