What a week. What a month. What a decade.
The theme of the past ten years of my life has been loss. Losing relationships, losing dreams, losing parents, losing friends, losing health. And this isn’t a sad post, because in every loss there has been great gain. Loss has hollowed out channels in my heart for grace to flood in with truth and leave in its wake new life.
Loss has forced me to hold up the people and the things I love with open hands and offer them to the Person I love most. Sometimes I have sacrificed them to Him with joy and peace, and sometimes its felt like they were torn from my clenched hands.
Recently, I’ve noticed the mantra of my prayers of surrender is this: Father, I sacrifice to you this person, (this ministry, this dream, this money, this time.) I offer it up to you to do with as you please.
And then I get up off my knees and pat myself on the back, feeling pretty proud of my capacity to give to God.
Except then I read Psalm 50.
I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills…for the world and its fullness are mine…Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:9-15 ESV)
Basically, God is frustrated with Israel because they keep coming to him with burnt offerings as if they’re doing Him a favor. But God points out that the beasts they offer, and in fact everything in the world, is His already.
Sacrifice isn’t about giving to God, it’s about thanking God for what He’s given.
We are always the recipients of grace in our relationship with God. He’s always giving. We’re always getting.
There are two ways for us to offer sacrifices to God.
One, that we would look at what we have, the people we love, our health, our time, our gifts, and offer them to God as if we are doing Him a favor, as if we are giving Him something that belongs to us, patting ourselves on the back for being willing to be parted with them.
Two, that we would look at these things and realize they aren’t ours, they belong to God. And He has shared them with us and so, we hand them back to Him with thankful hearts.
I’m not doing God a favor by offering Him my time. That doesn’t make me noble. My time is His. I want to give it to Him with a heart filled with gratitude that He’s given me any time at all, let alone another five minutes, five days, five weeks or years.
I’m not doing God a favor by sacrificing money for His kingdom. It’s His money! So, coming to Him in surrender isn’t about me giving Him something of mine, it’s about me thanking Him for all that He’s shared with me and asking Him for guidance on how to steward His gifts.
When I laid hands on my friends and sent them to the nations, when I trusted them in to the hands of God, I wasn’t doing Him a favor. He did me a favor by arranging my time and places to ever intersect with those sweet souls. He loaned them to me for a season for my good and His glory. In His infinite wisdom, He has asked me to sacrifice my friend, a child to sacrifice his father, a woman to sacrifice her husband, and somehow, by His grace, He wants us to do that with hearts that are filled with gratitude; thankful for the grace of all the moments we got to have together this side of Heaven.
God has shared so much with us. Let us come to Him today and offer everything back to Him with hearts filled with thanksgiving, considering and praising Him for all His generosity.