“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess 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
I’ve never been much for sacrifice. We always had more than enough growing up. I was an only child. You can imagine the shock when I married and began living on college student income. My world flipped upside down. No more designer jeans…paying for our own gas, our own food…I was so frustrated. It didn’t seem right. I couldn’t afford the luxuries I once had.
Being the inovater that I was, I found ways around it. Credit card companies were happy to indulge me with plentiful credit limits, and I was happy to shop. That is, until the bills began stacking higher and higher. Before I knew it I was making decisions between making credit card payments or buying food and paying bills. I made a huge mess of my credit, and am still paying the price years later.
Just the past year we began the Dave Ramsey cash envelope system and RELUCTANTLY, I am learning the art of sacrifice. If it’s not in the envolope, I don’t have it. Sometimes I throw nasty, ugly fits. I get downright angry when I can’t have what I want. You would think working with people in poverty would cure me of the greed disease, but it hasn’t. I still want more – more – more.
And so this very appropriate time of year, I am learning even more the art of sacrifice. Spending hours and hours crammed in a small dressing room will do that to you. Lauren and I both sacrifice for what she loves, ballet. She seems so young to understand this concept so well. She knows that if she chooses to say yes to dance, she will have to say no to other things, and she is okay with that. And so am I.
Maybe that is what was meant when the Bible says a sacrifice of praise….
If we choose to say yes to praise we must say no to other things…
Complaining, bitterness, anger, blaming, selfishness, rage…
It’s hard to praise when you don’t feel like it. When everything in you screams that things are not okay. And yet that is exactly what He calls us to do. Sacrifice is not about what He is asking you to leave behind, it is about what He is asking you to give up…to offer up with open hands to Him.
Will our hands contain bitterness…or will they contain praise?
Will we come to His throne with thanksgiving in our hearts…or a self-rightous spirit on our lips?
Learning to sacrifice is difficult, no doubts. But today let’s focus not on what He is asking us to leave behind but rather what He is asking us to offer up…