Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sacrifice or Inconvenience

Chuckle: First girl: "I spend hours in front of the mirror admiring my beauty. Do you think that's vanity?" Second girl: "No, it's imagination."
Quote: "The principle of sacrifice is that we choose to do or to suffer what, apart from our love, we would not choose to do or to suffer." --Archbishop William Temple

But Jesus called them (his disciples) together and said, “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give (sacrifice) my life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28 NLT).
Here, Jesus teaches His disciples and us about the kind of servant that God wants in His kingdom. Jesus capped off His lesson by using Himself as the example of kind of servant we should emulate. His message is that rather then using people, we should serve them. We become first by putting ourselves last; and we become a leader by being a servant to others. In other words, it is by being a servant that spiritual leaders are born. This concept is alien to the secular world, but central to the kingdom of God.
The dictionary defines "sacrifice" as "the act of offering something, as the life of a person or animal to God; the act of giving up one thing for the sake of another." The supreme sacrifice is "the giving of one's life for a cause." The major theme is that a meaningful sacrifice is costly to us.
In the Hebrew culture, the word, "sacrifice" meant the taking a life and the shedding of blood. People brought their best lambs, goats, bulls, rams, etc., to be offered as sacrifices to God. The blood of animals was intended to cover their sins and the sins of their households until Jesus came.
After Jesus gave Himself as the ultimate atoning sacrifice by the shedding of His blood on the cross, animal sacrifices were no longer required. ". . . we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 9:10 NIV). This is "because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4 NIV). "Without the shedding of (Jesus') blood, there is no forgiveness of sins" (Hebrews 9:22 NLT). The once for all sacrifice by our Lord means that no other blood sacrifice will ever be needed. Jesus' come to earth to redeem mankind by sacrificing Himself to ransom us from the bondage of sin.
Today, when we speak of "sacrifice," I'm afraid we often really mean "inconvenience," not legitimate sacrifice. Our definition of "sacrifice" often falls way short of the kind of sacrifice Jesus is talking about when He speaks of giving His own life as a ransom for many. A true servant, and devoted follower of Christ, continually makes sacrifices on behalf of others. What are we prepared to sacrifice (give up) for our Lord in ministry to others -- our time, our money, our abilities? Are you ready "to offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God? (Romans 12:1 NIV).
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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