While I would rather have been sleeping comfortably in my bed, being able to alleviate her pain made it worth dark circles under my eyes and a crick in my neck. I did it because I loved her more than I loved my sleep, my comfort, and my preferences.
I loved her more than I loved myself.
Have you noticed that God invites us to sacrifice these same things when he calls us into his service?
My husband and I have had many shortened (or non-existent) nights of sleep while shepherding the youth of our church, serving on mission trips, or ministering to those in the hospital. Spiritual and physical emergencies are inconvenient; they seldom lend themselves to advance scheduling. Wayward children break parents’ hearts on nights, weekends, and holidays. Marriages hit slick spots and need to be pulled from the ditch before they burst into flames. Breaking hearts need hugs and prayers at all the wrong times.
When I minister in Jesus’ name, he also calls me to sacrifice my comfort. Sharing the gospel is risky, and sometimes downright scary. I’ve never felt comfortable sharing my faith, though I’ve done it dozens of times.
Obedience has taken me places I would never voluntarily go—a downtown homeless ministry, a cancer center, an impoverished country. It’s led me to reach out to the rich and influential, and the poor and ignored. I’ve marched for the unborn, waved signs for elected officials, and hugged people I’ll never see again this side of Heaven. None of it was comfortable.
Service often intrudes upon my preferences, too. I prefer to make all the decisions, spend money on myself, and work with people who say “please,” and “thank you.” I’d rather keep mercy for myself and demand justice for everyone else. I’d like to be forgiven, but never have to forgive, be the recipient instead of the giver, and be served rather than serve. I’d prefer to be the master instead of the servant.
But when God calls us—and he calls us all—he slowly but surely transforms our “want to’s.” He chisels out our hearts of stone and gives us hearts of flesh—his flesh. We love because he first loved us. We begin to care for those he cares about. His purpose becomes our purpose.
I rocked my baby girl night after night at great personal cost for two reasons—because I loved her more than I loved myself, and because I knew I could make a difference.
These are the same reasons I serve the Lord:
Because I love him more than I love myself, and I want to make a difference.
Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 12:15:
“I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.”
If you’re feeling broken and spilled out today, rest assured. He sees. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10).
"'I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life’” (Luke 18:29).
“Be not weary in doing good, for you will reap a harvest. . .” (Galatians 6:9).
How have you sacrificed for the Lord and celebrated the results later? Leave a comment below to encourage us! If you're reading by email, click here to comment.
If you enjoyed this post, you might like "Obedience Is In the Small Things."
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