Monday, December 26, 2016
Paul wrote in Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (KJV) For Paul to have pleaded with God’s people to live a life of sacrifice signifies how much he was convinced that it would be of great benefit to the church in general. Why is a life of sacrifice so important? To begin with, it goes in line with what Jesus was quoted in the gospels as saying. He made it clear that no one could consider himself or herself a true follower if they had not learned to deny themselves.
In Old Testament times, anytime a sacrifice was offered, God’s presence would appear. Why would it be any different today when God’s people offer their sacrifices to Him? I often hear Christians say that they would like to feel more of God’s presence in their life. Well, here is one way of accomplishing that. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul acknowledged their gifts to him as being a fragrant offering and a pleasing sacrifice to God. In fact, that’s what prompted him to add: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Ph. 4:19) It is one more reminder that those who give get more in return and that it is indeed more blessed to give than to receive. Secondly, sacrifices bring results. For example, those of you who have been successful in losing weight know that to be true.
Now that another Christmas has come and gone, I was thinking this about of you: I sincerely believe that many of you would be greatly troubled this morning if you felt that this Christmas you received more than what you gave. I used to wonder in the past about Paul calling a life of sacrifice “our reasonable service.” My first impression of a reasonable person was one who is not unreasonable. In comparing the different renderings of the many bible versions at my disposal, however, I have come to see that instead of “reasonable service”, others signify it as “rational, logical, intelligent, proper, and appropriate acts of worship”, among other things. Therefore, practicing a life of giving and sacrifice is the rational, logical, intelligent, proper, and appropriate thing to do. I pray the Lord will help us all to live that kind of life.
God’s word for today: (1 Peter 2:5) “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”