Exodus 29:25 You shall take them from their hands, and offer them up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering for a soothing aroma before the LORD; it is an offering by fire to the LORD.
This week a diverse group of bloggers, both wise guys and brilliant woman, will endeavor to write about sacrifice. As a self-proclaimed wimp, I don't really feel qualified to start off the week, but that's my job - so here we go.
I find myself sort of an interesting character because I know what goes on inside my head and I easily amused. Occasionally I know about what is happening in my heart too. I am just trying to achieve happiness, have an easy life, and a find a way to make the most amount of money for the least amount of work! You won't find a lot of sacrifice in my day-to-day. Especially if you compared my lifestyle to that of some of the third-world slums I have been to in Brazil and various parts of the Caribbean.
I have met Christians that have given up a lot to serve that Kingdom of God. In fact I met a pastor just this week that gave up a job as principal to be a missionary in the middle east. He seems very happy serving God. Me, I gave up a few vacations to do mission trips, but nothing like him.
Sometimes sacrifice is not giving something up, but saying yes to the Lord. Obedience is better than sacrifice. I think that is more where I come from. I never sit down and say: "Lord, what would you like me to give up?" I will say: "Lord, what do you want me to do?" It's a more dangerous prayer, yet a better expression of my passion for the things of the Kingdom.
Let me explain with an example from my own life. In 1998 I was cruising along as a the CEO of a very profitable internet company. I was making a ton of cash, paid off my debts, drove a BMW, and was able to give generously to the church and its various ministries. Let's just say there was no sacrifice there. Then I went to a meeting with a prophet. I was a bit skeptical because I hadn't really had a lot of experience with all this stuff. He spoke some serious stuff over my life such as missions, international travel and writing. Wow, that was NOT me. I didn't want to go to a foreign country, especially one where they didn't speak English. And I laughed about the writing because I failed English, Grammar and Reading 9 out of 12 years in school.
All I can say is the prophet's words rolled around in my spirit for days, then weeks, and suddenly one morning the Spirit of God came on me as I sat in front of my keyboard and I began to write. For nearly two solid years I wrote just about every day, sending out a daily email. In the midst of that I met a guy from Brazil and our friendship turned into three mission trips to his homeland. All that I did was say yes to the prompting of God. It was in the obedience that I sacrificed some things in life. I didn't feel starved for them, I just focused on what God was having me do.
I guess my sacrifice happens more easily when I am blinded by love, love for my Savior. In the end I gave up useless idols and some conveniences, but the blessing of hanging out with Jesus is amazing!
As a footnote, sometimes we see sacrifice as painful, but many times it is freeing.
I would also add that there is a cost to following Jesus; a price to pay. On the return from my first mission trip to Brazil I came home to some serious situations which transpired while I was away. Within a year I had lost everything but a car full of personal belongings.
Would I do it again? YES!