There have been a lot of aspects of God that I’ve been meditating heavily on lately and one of them is the concept of sacrifice. We had a discussion about this in my class at church last night and I expressed my desire for us to start redefining what we look at as sacrifices. I think this is especially true of younger believers. They are “sacrificing” their ability to have a party lifestyle so they can follow God. We’re “sacrificing” the ability to watch certain popular shows because of the adult content in them. God’s really been speaking to me about the fact that these things aren’t “sacrifices” we’re making FOR Him, but they’re gifts we’re receiving FROM Him. A party lifestyle is ultimately empty and self-destructive, and all mature and graphic entertainment does is introduce new temptations and junk into the mind and spirit that isn’t holy and isn’t good for our spiritual health. Many of the things that we see as sacrifices are actually us just abstaining from things that we never should’ve been involved in from the start.
All that being said, there are true sacrifices. As we pick up on the study of the book of Luke today, we find Peter mentioning what I think we can all agree is a true sacrifice. And more importantly, we get a look at how Jesus feels about true sacrifices.
Luke 18:28-30 Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” 29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
“God is worth the sacrifice” has become a bit of a mantra for me as of late. I’ve never given up anything for God and not received something better in return. Never. Jesus acknowledges that yes, Peter and the others made a true sacrifice to follow him, but then Jesus attaches a promise to it. They’ll be repaid MANY TIMES OVER in this life, and they’ll have eternal life in the world to come.
Sometimes I think we overlook things in the word of God because we’re desensitized to hyperbole. We live in a society where every great meal is “THE GREATEST FOOD EVER COOKED” and every new show is “MUST SEE” and so we sort of just developed this filter in our brain where those huge statements are commonplace. When someone tells me a movie is “THE BEST THING EVER AND YOU HAVE TO SEE IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE” what I get out of that is them saying “Yeah, it’s pretty good.” So when we read a statement from Jesus like “REPAID MANY TIMES OVER” I think there’s a danger in which our brain is taking that as saying “it’s worth it”. And Jesus isn’t just saying it’s worth it. He’s not a God of hyperbole, what He says, He means.
Imagine this in terms of money. You give Jesus $100. This verse is telling us that Jesus will give you back multiple hundreds. Many times OVER what you sacrificed for him, he will give back to you. And that’s just in THIS LIFE. Also attached to this promise is eternal life. That’s a gift far too precious to measure with dollars.
Luke 6:38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
Why wouldn’t we give all that we have to a God who promises that He’ll respond by giving us back FAR MORE than we gave Him? And please do not think I’m making some religious play for your money here today, because to me money is among the least valuable things we have to give or sacrifice to God. The true thing you have to sacrifice and give away is yourself. Your time, your efforts, your talents, your ego, your selfishness, all laid on the altar, given fully to God. I give Him myself, and He says the reward is far beyond what I gave. And guess what? He’s lived up to His word. The more of myself that I commit to God, the better I become. What I get back from Him is a stronger, more confident, more capable version of who I am. The absolute best thing you can do is give yourself over to God, because the reward for that is true transformation in who you are.
God is worth the sacrifice. If you spend enough time in the word to truly get to know who God is then you will easily agree with my statement. He is worth whatever it is we give up for Him. Our fake “sacrifices” like less entertainment time, staying away from the party lifestyle, abstinence before marriage, and even our real sacrifices like giving up time with family to minister to those in need, or giving up personal career pursuits to devote more time to the kingdom of God, all worth it, and all ultimately to our benefit. God is worth the sacrifice.
As we head into the weekend, I want to encourage you to really re-examine what you’re “sacrificing” for God. We have proof in our own lives that God is the ultimate consultant/advisor, that whatever we give over to Him always earns a huge return and comes back to us bigger and better. Since that’s the case, why aren’t we giving Him everything we absolutely can?
I love each and every one of you. It continues to be my absolute pleasure to get to share this Bible study and my many musing on the word of God and the things of God with you. I pray a happy, safe, and restful weekend over all of you!
If you have a prayer request or just need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.