If you are tired of me writing about sacrifice and giving and selfishness, you are not alone, I am tired of it too, but I cannot ignore the work that God continues to do in me in these areas, if only to transform my thoughts into more Godly thoughts. So I continue to write about such things as sacrifice.
I am not easily content within the confines of my home. I really really like to get out of the house at least once a day, but there are some days in which staying in is fine. When I worked, I always liked to get out and go to lunch during the lunch hour, because I just like to get out and move and see a different scenery. I didn’t like being confined to my cube or even my building, and so it goes in being a stay at home mom. The problem with this, is that I do not live in an area where getting out is free, without some creativity, and I am not very creative when it comes to my get out of the house time. Usually, it involves such things as eating out or running an errand, although now, I do get out to take Princess to preschool, and I still try to take Speed Racer to the library, though we’ve slacked off lately.
A couple of days ago, I really wanted to DO something out of the house. It was New Year’s Day, but we tried to take the kids to get haircuts. Nothing was open. In the back of my mind, I also wanted to get a small bite to eat. Having looked at our money, I knew that I should not eat out. It got me to thinking about sacrifice.
I wonder how many of us know much about it. I’m not sure I know a whole lot about it personally. As Americans, generally, we work and work and make sacrifices for the day when we can one day retire. We live for the hope that one day we won’t have to work anymore, as if it is something we deserve because of the hard work we have done throughout the years. Some people probably even wait to spend time with their children or spouse until the retirement years. And while I totally respect this system and retirees, I hardly think this is the sacrifice that God requires. I don’t think God is pleased that we have worked so many years to one day stop and rest. Our whole entire life and being should be devoted to Him – our work and our rest and our retirement. And while we can change our hope to the hope of heaven, many verses allude to the fact that we will also work in heaven, for work is pleasing to God.
As a wife and mommy, sometimes there are things I have to do that I don’t want to do – like picking up dirty clothes or every day picking up toys that I know will just be thrown out again in a few hours or at least by the next morning. To simply do these activities is NOT sacrifice. Working in and of itself is not the sacrifice, although that may be how most people define sacrifice. Sacrifice is an attitude of the heart. The sacrifice that God requires is that I learn to enjoy doing these activities instead of treating them as chores. That I do them as if I was picking up Jesus’s clothes off the floor or putting away Jesus’s toys in direct service to Him and also to my husband and children.
My husband is great about picking up where I leave off. Most of the time his attitude is good about doing so, but occasionally I can tell that he really wants to be doing something different. (It’s very easy to see this when you are frustrated with children.) It’s in that moment, that he’s not really making a sacrifice. It is a duty he performs, but not from a glad heart. The same could be said of my mom taking care of her elderly father – if all she ever did was complain, it could be said that her service was for naught – therefore making it a meaningless act because it was a joyless duty. If we continually notice what we are doing for our family and what our husbands are not doing for us, chances are we are not serving out of a sacrificial loving heart.
In the midst of all things, we should be able to praise Him at all times for all things, simply because He is God and He is good – in our duties, in our struggles, and even, in our difficulties.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
I am learning that without sacrifice, there can be no love. Sacrifice is doing with an attitude of joy and thus honors God and shows Him love. I am convinced this is what Paul means when he writes the following in 1 Corinthians:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
God requires a sacrifice of praise, of worship – these are the fragrant offerings that are pleasing to Him, and without it, everything is meaningless.