We are never called upon to make a real sacrifice for God. Many things He asks us to yield to Him, but in doing this we are but giving up that which hinders us in the heavenward way. Even when called upon to surrender those things which in themselves are good, we may be sure that God is thus working out for us some higher good. – The Ministry of Healing p 473.4
Looking at other people it’s easy to see choices that could have been made differently leaving the individual, or others, better off. Yesterday I was driving home next to a middle-aged man in a Mercedes coupe. I wondered if that car was necessary, and how many children in Asia it could send to school if the money had been used differently. Sometimes I look at peoples’ large houses and know that the debt load is probably difficult, and that financial concerns are the number one issue in strained marriages. How much is sacrificed for the pride of display?
It’s always easier to look at other people than myself. What do I spend money on that is unnecessary? What do I spend money on that I don’t need that could be sending a child to school in Asia, or could be rescuing someone from human trafficking? What about that sports car that I want, or entertainment items that I think would be fun, but aren’t necessary?
When God puts it on our heart to sacrifice something, it can seem so painful. Parting with a desire or habit can feel like it cuts to the core of us. ‘Why do I have to give this up? I don’t see why it’s a necessity.’ Sometimes God has to tell us to make changes, or we won’t. Sometimes God has to force us to make changes or we never would.
I once made the decision to take some time off of school to go to a small Christian training school. It was an amazing time, and the best thing I’ve ever done. After that semester worth of training I received an offer to stay and work for the school for six months. I wanted the opportunity to put into practice what I had learned, because I didn’t want to lose it. That meant that I would extend my time off from college working toward a degree. My dad is a professor, and reacted in a profoundly negative way to my decision to take the time off. And afterward, in a harder decision, I made the decision to work for a church in Florida for a year, because I felt I needed more experience or I would still lose what I had learned. That third decision was the hardest, because it cut the deepest. Taking one semester off of school wasn’t bad. Taking two and going against my dad didn’t cut too deep, but taking the last year, felt like it was a permanent type of decision. Not that I wouldn’t go back to school at some point, but I was, you know, finally all in.
That year was amazingly hard. I’m not sure I would choose to do that year again if I knew ahead of time what would happen during it. But I think it was the making of me. It helped complete the transition from a boy to a man. It put me on my own and made me serve God for myself, not doing it by depending on others to pull me along.
I give the example not because I’m perfect, but to illustrate that it’s a true principle. I know there are other changes that I still need to make.
Making the sacrifices, and walking where God would have us to has real value. At first we only see the enormous cost to ourselves. We don’t see the greater value and the higher good behind it.
Trust God. He has been faithful before, and will be faithful again. God is on your side and wants the best for you, and He’s in a better position to see what is for your ultimate good than you can.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Things that you can’t imagine right now.