Sacrificial Service

“There is no service without sacrifice.”

How does that hit ya?  Let me tell you something.  This about dropped me on the floor when I heard it.  I can easily say I’ve known this for a long time.  I can easily brush it off as another great quote that came down the pike.  I could completely ignore it, or even say that I’ve already applied it to my life.  But here’s my reality.  I have known this.  I have written about it.  I have even taught hundreds of people about this in chapels and youth groups.  Yet, despite all that, I have not lived it.  So when the Lord wants to make His point very clear to you, He will.  When He wants to nudge, or even flat out squeeze your heart, He will.  This is precisely what happened to me yesterday.  Something I’ve heard numerous times, yet this time it was different.

I liken it to when I have to grab my children by their cheeks, put their face directly in front of my own, look them square in the eyes, and give them explicit instructions of what they are to do.  There is only a specific time when I have to do this.  When I know they are not being obedient to me.  I know they’ve heard me.  But often times, our conversations go something like this:

Me…

My children…

There are often times when we hear the voice of the Lord in our lives, yet choose not to hear it.  However, yesterday was the day the Lord grabbed me by my chubby cheeks, looked me square in the heart, and made His will for my life very clear.

“There is no service without sacrifice.”

This came to life in reading John 12:23-26.  Jesus, in speaking of His coming death, said that He must be glorified.  He would be glorified by sacrificing Himself so that others may live.  Wow!  What an amazing concept!

So often, we think that we are serving Christ by doing the most simplistic of tasks.  “Lord, I picked up a piece of trash when no one asked me.  Are you proud of me?!”  Service is not doing what you want to do.  Service is not completing a task to make yourself feel better.  Service is sacrifice.  We often forget that very important fact.  Are you a Christian?  Before you answer, please take the time to truly consider what you’re about to say.  Acts 11:26 tells us that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  What were they doing?  Traveling the known world, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ without regard to race, heritage, customs, or borders.  Do you think this was easy for them?  Is it easy to pick up and leave all that you know to serve the One who saved you?  Absolutely not.

It is vital that we get over this concept that as long as we do a little deed here or there, we can punch our service card, and call it a day.  True biblical Christian service is not on a list of requirements that we are to fulfill.  It is a lifestyle by which we commit our lives to live out each and every day.  It needs to be who we are, not what we do.  If you are going to continue to call yourself a Christian, then read this carefully:

” For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

And to give his life.  It wasn’t to turn water in to wine so the party could continue.  It wasn’t about walking on water to ‘wow’ people to salvation.  It’s all about sacrifice.  That is why Jesus came.  And that is who we follow.  Are you gonna call yourself a Christian?  Have you set it in your mind to be a “little Christ”?  Then you better be willing to sacrifice your life and all that you love for the sake of the gospel.

“There is no service without sacrifice.”

If Jesus himself proclaimed that his “soul is troubled” (John 12:27), what are we to think about our life in Him?  If Jesus himself prayed for “this cup” (sacrifice) to pass, then what are we to expect?  Absolutely everything about our life in Christ is sacrifice.  Everything we do while we are in this world, should be sacrifice.

 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father,save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name…’And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’  He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” (John 12:27-28a, 32-33)

Christians, I implore you to listen carefully.  Our savior proclaimed that his death would draw people to salvation.  That his death would bring glory to our Heavenly Father.  What are we doing in our current state to bring God glory?  What are we sacrificing to draw others to Him?  I am constantly asking myself these questions for I never want to be content in this world.

Are you hearing the words that are coming out of God’s mouth?  Should we wonder any longer why Jesus said multiple times, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”  We need to listen.  We need to obey.  We need to take what we hear, apply it to our life, and forsake all things that will inhibit us from being the living sacrifice He has called us to be.

“There is no service without sacrifice.”

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