Sacrifice. That is today’s Five Minute Friday prompt – and one that takes my thoughts into many different directions. I’m sure I could write much more than five minutes would allow; however, that somewhat defeats the goal of this weekly link-up. Yes, I express my thoughts on a topic, but FMF is also a mental training and writing exercise. Kate does such a good job of creating thoughtful posts – while sticking to the “five minute” style. This year, I’m trying to improve at that as well. That said, here are my five minutes or writing about sacrifice.
GO – My first mental image, after considering sacrifice, is that of Jesus and the ultimate sacrifice He made at Calvary…closely followed by the hundreds and thousands of animals offered on altars throughout the Old Testament. The sheep, bullocks, doves and more killed not only to atone for sins but in order to worship God and to gain His favor.
Sacrifice is often associated with worship as well as gaining favor or approval. And, although we no longer offer sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, in many ways we still try to sacrifice in an attempt to gain God’s favor. There are so many ways to give, to give deeply and to sacrifice. We sacrifice our time, our money and our talent – just to get the list started. The sacrifices we make and the ways we are able to give can be honorable, needed and worthwhile. However, we do not need to earn God’s favor.
This is something Christ has been teaching – and reteaching me – often over the last months. Gently showing me where I cling to my performance (even in the midst of ministry or other worthwhile deeds) in order to please the Father. In order to feel accepted, beloved and worthy to walk daily with Him. He is continually reminding me of grace. His amazing grace. Reminding me that I am saved by grace…and living by grace.
I have to repeatedly challenge myself with “the why” of my choices (for instance, what I say yes to), my habits and routine, and even to my sacrifices. What is the motivation behind the sacrifice? There are so many wonderful – and holy – ways to give, to serve, to minister and to love others. But God is concerned with my heart…and that is “the why.”
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” I Samuel 15:22
STOP – If my “why” is wrong, the sacrifice is wrong. As predicted, I knew there would be much more to say. Perhaps, I will continue these thoughts on Tuesday’s post. Until then, have a wonderful weekend. Serve, love and sacrifice as He leads – but with a heart of obedience and not performance.