S187P8 – A good start: understanding sacrificial living

Lk. 14:25-30

Now great multitudes went with Him.  And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?”

He fought tooth and nail to get that first interview, and now he was one of the last two candidates being considered for the promotion.  His life was about progress, and he often thought about the next place he wanted to arrive.  He told himself that he would not be satisfied unless he got the position, and it ended up being his.  There was excitement and celebration in that moment, but the shimmer of the new job would become dull quickly.  From long hours to weekend meetings to last-minute business trips, he felt he was trading his life for this job.  He had not known that friends, family, and his own time would have to be placed on the altar to do this work well.

I remember saying that prayer at the altar in the front of the sanctuary, and my heart was completely honest in its desire to be relinquished to the Lord fully.  I had hit my end, and I wanted God to take the lead.  Yet, even though I honestly gave myself to him that day, I did not fully understand the sacrifice of Christian living.  I would come to learn it very quickly, which raised all kinds of questions for me.  Each time I lost something or someone because I had chosen Jesus, it made me remember what it was that He gave up for me.  That helped drive home the uncomfortable truth that I was called to sacrifice for him.  All these years later, I still must remind myself that this is the kind of life that I have chosen to live for my Savior.

We come to Christ by giving ourselves wholly to him, but that is a difficult concept to live daily.  We try to reconcile the call to a sacrificial life with the promise of an abundant life, because they seem at odds with each other.  God wants me to give him everything, and I might lose the people I love in the process, yet He tells me that my life will be full.  This is because we find our fullness in him, and that is why the great things we might lose can be accepted.  If we begin this journey understanding that daily sacrifice is the requirement, and those sacrifices might be great, acceptance will be easier.  Father, instill in us a willingness to sacrifice happily even the greatest of our loves for the sake of your call.