Why Easy, Free Convenient Sacrifices are a Lie

Showing love to others can feel like you are not showing love to yourself sometimes. How can you pour yourself out in the love of others when you do not know how to go on? When you are tired. When you can go no more. When do you stop and take “me time?”

“If love is who I am
Then this is where I’ll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back
I want to live like that
I want to live like that
Am I proof
That You are who you say You are?
That grace can really change our heart
Do I live like Your love is true?”

(Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets)

Easy Free and Convenient Don’t Make a Sacrifice

King David had messed up. (2 Samuel 24:14-25) So, God was punishing Israel. God sent him to a man named Araunah. David was supposed to buy Araunah’s threshing floor and sacrifice to God there.

Oh, how convenient! David arrives. Araunah offered to give the threshing floor to David. He even offered to give him the oxen to sacrifice. Oh, and look the threshing sledges and ox yokes would make great wood. Everything was there. How convenient.

Now, when we’re in our “God closes a door, he opens a window” mentality (a somewhat flawed concept, I believe) we might say,

 “Oh, how convenient. God set this up.”

Oh No, my friend on the mend. David said:

“No, I insist on buying it from your for a price, for I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)

The Sacrifices We Want to Make

Many of us are okay with sacrifice —

as long as we’re rested.

as long as we have time.

as long as we have money.

Come on. If you have the time, energy and money is it really a sacrifice? It doesn’t cost you anything if you have enough to spare.

A Sacrifice of Convenience.

And that seems to be what many want to do today. They want to serve others as long as they are not tired. They want to give money as long as they have enough. They want to show up if they have time on their schedule.

Convenient sacrifice ISN’T SACRIFICE. It might be nice. But nice ISN’T SACRIFICE.

STOP!

Real sacrificial love costs! I am not talking a lack of self- care. I’m not talking namby-pamby martyrdom.

I am speaking of a conscious decision. When a healthy-minded brave adult decides to give, show up, and do for others. When all you want to do is lay on the couch and curl up under a blanket and hibernate for days – you get up and go because you are called to a work.

Sacrifice that Costs Somethin’

Tom Elliff is an amazing man. My pastor Michael Catt brings him in to teach us at church. But Tom has had a rough time lately. His precious wife Jeannie “graduated to glory(his words not mine) after a long struggle with cancer. On top of that, Tom is recovering from knee surgery.

I’m sure his friends could tell him — be quiet and rest. You’ve had enough. Don’t write. Rest. Get well. Heal up. Just pray a little and be quiet.

But instead, Tom is writing these incredible blog posts. From the depth of his soul, God is pouring forth some of the best most soul-ministering stuff online. And I have needed it. Desperately.

He doesn’t know that during some of the darkest days of my life, his words have been a life preserver to a stranger who lives across the country. He is probably sick and tired of trouble, but he sacrificed and is writing and pouring his wisdom into words.

I was looking over the list of my mentors and discovered that each had his times of affliction. Painful loss, terminal disease, inexplicable and undeserved rejection, personal failure and accompanying discipline, consuming sorrow…each could testify to the reality of what the psalmist calls “affliction.” But in every instance that “affliction” became the wheel upon which a greater faith was forged. Thus each man had something in his life that I desperately wanted in my life as well.

The Woman Jesus Praised

Jesus was in the temple. He watched the rich people drop their offerings into the temple treasury. From what I’ve read, the things they dropped their coins in were designed to make a lot of noise. Think– change machine in the grocery store. So, these rich people were throwing in their coins, and it was making a racket. It was obvious who was chunkin their change in the coin machine. Everyone knew who was giving what.
Then, a poor widow comes by and quietly, head down, puts in two tiny coins. I doubt it even made a clink.
Jesus says:

“I tell you the truth,” He said. “this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, be she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

This verse tells me that Jesus notices sacrifice.
  • When you’re tired and, you show up to watch children at church anyway.
  • When your money is tight, and you give your tithe and offering anyway.
  • When you don’t have time but quickly drop by to encourage or call a friend.
Sacrifice isn’t nice. Sacrifice is hard. Christ is sacrifice. But he notices yours too.

Jesus didn’t say

“pamper yourself, give yourself a little break and I’ll see you Sunday.”

No. Jesus says,

“If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

Why is Mother’s Day one of the most celebrated days of the year?
Because Moms are often the ones who give what they don’t have to people who don’t say thank you when it isn’t convenient or easy. Mom’s (and hopefully many Dads) are the crunch committee. They are there for children when the kids don’t deserve it. They love and show it.

The Crunch Committee

That is what I want you to be… the crunch committee.

Can we be the people God calls on in a crunch? That no matter how tired and exhausted we are. When disaster strikes, He knows if He calls us that we’ll show up. The Ananias. The Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ hands. The Ruth for Naomi.

Walk and Not Grow Weary

For if we are called, we are equipped. But if we are called, we cannot wait until it is convenient and when we feel like it to show up. We also cannot brag to everyone we know about the things we do like some loud clattering offering pot.
Oh friends:

“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
there is no limit to His understanding.
He gives strength to the weary
and strengthens the powerless.
Youths may faint and grow weary,
and young men stumble and fall,
but those who trust in the LORD
will renew their strength
;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
the will walk and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40:28-31)

Don’t quit, please. Hit your knees.
Live your calling, my friends. Be recklessly abandoned to show love to others. Be encouraged that your actions of love Matter.

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