This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “sacrifice”.
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he (Jesus) said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35 NLT)
The call to discipleship is a call to sacrifice. It’s a truth we sometimes try to ignore. We’d rather focus on God’s love and forgiveness, and how he accepts us as we are.
And he does. All of those things are true, but if we’re truly going to follow him and know the life in its fullness that he calls us to, there are times when it will involve saying no to ourselves and choosing to do something we don’t want to do because he is calling us.
It’s tough. As I think of sacrifice, it’s easy to be consumed by “What if…?”
What if I sacrifice this?
What if I do this hard thing that God is calling me to do?
What if it goes badly?
What if people don’t understand?
It comforts me that even Jesus was daunted by the idea of sacrifice, that he wept and prayed in the garden as he wrestled with the thought of all that lay ahead. It means he understands.
It also reminds me that no sacrifice I can be asked to make will ever be bigger that the sacrifice he made for me. It still doesn’t make it easy, but it gets things into perspective. And the only way we’re going to be able to sacrifice as God asks us is to remember Jesus’ sacrifice.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame.” (Hebrews 12:2)
In the end, Jesus considered that the sacrifice was worth it.
“When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous.” (Isaiah 53:11 NLT)
And this gives me hope for the sacrifices I’m asked to make. If God is calling me to do this, it will be worth it. If it will help others and point them to Jesus, then it’s worth the risk.