Sunday 9 November 2014
“David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to The LORD. And he said, “Far be it from me, O my God, that I should do this! Shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men” (1 Chronicles11:16-19).
The above passage is a vivid example of what sacrifice is. When David was thirsty, his volunteers put their lives at risk to get him water from a well that was at the gate of Bethlehem. Moved by the daring sacrifice of his volunteers, David poured out the water as a drink offering unto God. Today, God needs our sacrifice as a poured out drink offering to him.
What is sacrifice? It simply means, “Giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or help someone.”
Personal sacrifice in needed to make progress in life. Without sacrifice you cannot attain certain goals in life. We all make sacrifice to pass exams, build a career, raise a family, build a house, own a car, get married, etc. Kingdom work requires sacrifice from the children of the kingdom.
Sacrifice is a demonstration of our devotion, love and loyalty to God. You make sacrifices in order to exchange what you have for something better and higher.
Jesus demonstrated sacrifice by his death on the cross. He also taught a great deal about the need for sacrifice by his disciples (Matthew 6:19-21; Mark 8:34-38; John 12:24-26; Philippians 2:5-8). In the same manner that David’s volunteers risked their lives to fetch him some water from the gate at Bethlehem when he was thirsty, so Jesus deserves our devotion, love and loyalty.
You make sacrifice in order to win something of eternal or higher value. This was what Jesus did. To inherit something of eternal value he had to endure shame, hostility and the cross. In Hebrews 12:2-3 we read these words about the sacrifice of Jesus: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
Christianity is what it is today because of sacrifice of Jesus, and countless saints who lived before us. The strength of Christianity is because of the labours and sacrifice of our predecessors who worked, many were persecuted, many were killed, many were tormented, others died to preserve our spiritual heritage. Think of the sacrifices of men like Shedrack, Meshack, Abednego, Daniel, Stephen, Paul and the apostles.
Faith motivates us to make sacrifice. Sacrifice without faith lacks power. Faith gives strength and bite to sacrifice.
What do we sacrifice? Our life, (Mark 8:34-38; John 12:24-26; Daniel 3:13-18); we can sacrifice our time; our money; our treasure; when we prayer and fast we make sacrifice; we can forgo food as a sacrifice; we can choose to give up our leisure or holidays or our pleasure.
Every day, God requires us to make one form of sacrifice or the other as a demonstration of our love for him and the brethren. Every sacrifice we make concerning his kingdom is noticed and appropriately rewarded by him at the right time. Today, God is calling on us to make sacrifices to pray for the peace of a United Nigeria, to pray for the Nigerian army as they fight to vanquish Boko Haram. We are called to sacrifice our time to pray for the suffering Christians and victims of the invasion of MUBI by Boko Haram. God expects us to support our brethren in the North East ( Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa States) of Nigeria whose lives have been unsettled by the frequent attacks by Boko Haram. To support them, we must be willing to minister to their physical as well as spiritual needs.
Christmas is a season of blessing and feasting; yet it could be made a season of sacrifice. Let us use this season to remember those who are in need. May God give us the grace to make sacrifices. And may our sacrifice be acceptable to Him.