Where do you draw the line in the sand?
Nearly every significant accomplishment is achieved through sacrifice. From good grades, to artistic creations, to job security, to following Jesus… sacrifice is required.
Even insignificant things involve the sacrifice of something. Being a “coach potato” requires the sacrifice of your health! This example illustrates another key point in the discussion about sacrifice: Some sacrifices are poor ones.
Our question is, “What are you willing to sacrifice for the kingdom?” You probably have a line in the sand that you have placed out there before God saying, “I’ll go this far with you, but only to this point.”
We know that most of you will respond quickly, saying, “Where he leads me, I will follow,” or “I’ll go anywhere, make any sacrifice, if Jesus asks me to.” We would say that too… at first. But let’s be authentic. Most of us have limits, limits that we may not even know about unless we get up close and personal with them.
Here are some of ours:
All of us have different levels of risk we are willing to put up with. We have friends that went to Kurdish Iraq and stayed for years, but when their lives and the lives of their daughters were threatened, they chose to leave. We don’t blame them. Most of us would do the same thing.
It is funny that because the Declaration of Independence says God has endowed us with inalienable (that means they cannot be taken from us and we cannot give them away) rights, we believe that God actually said that somewhere. He didn’t, as far as we can tell (except for the “right to become children of God” when we received Jesus – John 1:12). We live and move and have our being by God’s will and grace, not by some right to those things (though when Paul quoted that phrase in Athens (Acts 17:28), probably from Epimenides, Epimenides was most likely referring to Zeus. Paul used it as a bridge to connect the Athenians with the “unknown god”). Some of us would hesitate to serve where we didn’t have, at least, some basic human rights.
This is a broad category and many of us would be willing to give up some comfort. We have talked with many who are willing to give up everything, except a reasonably good internet connection, or basic privacy, or at least limited access to familiar food, or toilet paper in the bathroom… or at least a toilet seat… okay, at least a toilet of some kind, or _______ (you fill in the blank!).
Would you be willing to send your children to boarding school? Not too long ago, this was a real decision for those in remote areas. With online and homeschooling advancements, boarding schools are of less importance (but, of course, you need internet for that). Still, many choose to send their kids away to schools for various reasons. Being separated from family members that live here in the US seems like normal sacrifice, but what about when a crisis happens at home, or a close friend gets married? Those are deeper losses, and sometimes we make the choice to come home to share in those events.
Is there a defined line somewhere out there that fits for everyone? No. God deals with each of us in ways that fit us and our weaknesses.
Just a closing word about those “poor” sacrifices we mentioned earlier: Before any sacrifice is made (and we are ignoring the lame ones like the reference to being a couch potato or sacrificing your marriage for the sake of ministry), much prayer is needed, and the counsel of spiritual advisors should be sought. As you know us to always say, obedience is our way of showing Jesus we love him!