Cycle of Sacrifice
Sacrifice – The dictionary defines this word as to, “offer, give away, give up, to destroy and to kill.” As the negative words the dictionary definition use to describe sacrifice show, it is not something people would usually want to do. But as Christians, how can we define the word sacrifice, especially if it is in reference to our relationship with God? What is He doing in us when we sacrifice for Him?
“And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” – Nehemiah 12:43
For further understanding, let us see how Nehemiah and his fellow Christians in Jerusalem sacrificed themselves for God:
This story takes places in the time after the people in Jerusalem had finished rebuilding the walls protecting their city. After fifty-two days of persecution, threats from their enemies who opposed them rebuilding those walls, and the enduring of countless hours of hard work, maybe some of them were thinking that they deserved a little recognition, an award, or even a simple token of appreciation for all they had accomplished. But after rebuilding, the laborers continued their acts of sacrifice by dedicating the fortifications of the city to God. As the verse states, they offered great sacrifices. What a great heart!
For us, it is important to be reminded that when sacrificing for the mission that God has commissioned us, we must constantly remember the reason why we’re doing it – to honor and glorify God. But does being willing to sacrifice mean that God wants us to suffer in the giving of our time, money, and resources for His glory? No. Despite all that the Israelites gave up to rebuild their city, the preceding verse says that they were, “…rejoicing because God had given them great joy.” When was the last time that we felt so happy when we sacrificed something for God, for our family and for other people?
Those who have a great heart for a great sacrifice will surely receive a great joy coming from our great God! That great joy will be so obvious and contagious that people we encounter will be encouraged and be inspired to do everything for the glory of God. They will go on and pass on that great joy coming from God and inspire others. Surely, sacrifice is not a solemn act, but a joy that will be passed to others as the cycle continues on, generation after generation.
Discussion Question: In what ways have you sacrificed for the glory of God? Is there something God is calling you to sacrifice?
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