Sometimes we give something up because God asks us to, but at the time we don’t even know just how costly our choice of obedience will turn out to have been. With great anguish we sacrifice something for him, only to find out later that the sacrifice we made was even bigger than we realised – that the consequences are more numerous and more painful than we saw coming.
God doesn’t always act with our informed consent. He doesn’t always give us all the information before asking us to do something.
Perhaps this is for our good.
How could a Christian justify any notion that, when our monetary income increases, our level of comfort should increase, rather than someone else’s?
Don’t preach against abortion if you’re not willing to help take care of abandoned children – and single mothers.
Don’t preach against corporate greed if you’re not willing to give your possessions to the poor.
Don’t preach against homosexuality if you’re not willing to invest part of your life into befriending and encouraging gay individuals. On that note, don’t preach against homosexuality if you won’t also preach against all bullying inflicted on homosexuals.
And don’t preach about Hell if you’re not willing to put your life on the line to stop people going there.
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book Three, Ch.3
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we awake
to Eternal Life.
“Let us remember that when we talk of the rending of the veil we are speaking in a figure, and the thought of it is poetical, almost pleasant, but in actuality there is nothing pleasant about it. In human experience that veil is made of living spiritual tissue; it is composed of the sentient, quivering stuff of which our whole being consists, and to touch it is to touch us where we feel pain. To tear it away is to injure us, to hurt us and make us bleed. To say otherwise is to make the cross no cross and death no death at all. It is never fun to die. To rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet that is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free.”
– Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Ch.3
The Christian life doesn’t just contain sacrifices; it is a sacrifice.
Philippians 1:21, Romans 12:1
Are you living the kind of life that could only be worth living if Christ really died for you? Is the sacrifice you’re making for Christ so great that, if he is not real, and if his eternal joy doesn’t await you after death, you would flee from that lifestyle in an instant?