Sacrifices that are not Sacrifices

Thursday, Sept. 24                                         

“No one ever loses what he sacrifices to the Father.”—Dan Schaeffer, in “A Better Country, p. 26.   Most of us think of sacrifice as giving up of something that is precious, as abandoning something we would really like to keep.   At the top of most of our lists would be our independence.  I still remember that when I was a teen-ager, I was reluctant to abandon my ambitions for a happy and successful life to God.  I didn’t want God to have carte blanc on my life.  I felt I wanted to hang on to some things, that I would feel cheated, that God would short change me.  When faced with “laying it all on the altar” I wasn’t about to make that commitment.  Of course it was a trick of  Satan.  God has never cheated anybody.  You can’t out give God.  But I didn’t know that then.  (I was dumb enough to keep all that to myself or I might have gotten straightened out a little earlier.)  When Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, the one God had promised would be the son of inheritance, he obeyed.  Since it would make God out to be a liar or that God would have to raise Isaac from the dead, it was a catastrophic decision.  Abraham not only kept his son, but entered into a new and rich relationship with God, and has gone down in history as a great man of faith.  There are  many other examples in the Bible, as well as many examples in the rest of history.  One that you will remember is the story of Jim Eliott.  He, along with others, risked his life to reach the Auca people of Ecuador.  After his death at the hands of the Aucas, this quote was found in his diary:  “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”  Yes, he lost his life, which had to end sometime anyway, to gain an indigenous people for Christ.  And his life prompted hundreds if not thousands to get involved in the Great Commission.  Was Jim wrong?  Do you think he regrets that commitment?  In reality, a sacrifice to God is not a sacrifice at all.  It’s an investment.  Everyone gains—including the giver.  And God is pleased.  No losers!

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