Blessings come from sacrifice

JESUS SPEAKING

                So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life” (Luke 18: 29-30.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                All valuable things have a price; and eternal life is certainly no exception. Although salvation is free, reconciliation requires sacrifice.  The cost for following Jesus Christ is often quite high; most believers will endure persecution, affliction, and numerous hardships.  In turn, genuine obedience frequently produces loss; the loss of possessions, property, and prestige; the loss of a home, a career, and even certain family members and friends; some have even laid down their lives for the sake of the gospel.  Still, from the time of the resurrection until today, not one righteous sacrifice has ever been committed in vain; for God has promised to replace each offering with something far greater.  To die as a peaceful martyr is to live forever in the His Kingdom.  To lay down our earthly possessions is to grab hold of God’s eternal riches.  To suffer affliction for righteousness is to one day experience unending freedom and everlasting peace. And yet God’s rewards aren’t solely relegated to the heavenly realm. He also provides the faithful with many earthly blessings; wives, husbands, children, careers, possessions, etc.)

                Some time ago, while serving at my church, I met a pastor named Greg.  A few years earlier he had been the starting quarterback for a division one college football team.  As he headed in to his senior year, his future looked promising.  Many expected him to excel, and to eventually enter the NFL draft.  According to the world, his life was an example of success.  Yet God had other plans for Greg.  Before the start of his senior year, he felt the Lord calling him in to full time ministry.  After much contemplation and prayer, Greg chose to sacrifice any potential fame and fortune to serve God.  When he announced his decision not to return for his final season, his coaches were mystified; many of his friends thought he had gone crazy.  Those who were worldly thought he was making a very serious mistake.  However, approximately four years after making his decision, Greg told me he had never been more satisfied.  He is now joyfully serving the Lord; he also has a beautiful wife and a young child.  By sacrificing much he has received a number of priceless blessings in return; “and in the age to come, eternal life.”

                The Christian path requires great sacrifice.  Letting go of what is useless and grabbing hold of what is good isn’t without consequence.  Obedience to the Lord produces loss; yet for every earthly loss there is a heavenly reward.  Trust in the Lord; sacrifice any meaningless and unprofitable areas of your life and place them upon God’s Holy altar; submit yourself to His leading and you will experience all of the blessings that He has promised to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to sacrifice our lives in service to You.  May we accomplish Your will no matter the cost.  Remove any sins that stand in our way.  Give us a new heart; give us new desires; may we die so that You may live.  We thank You in advance for the blessings You have promised to provide, and we submit our lives to You now in faith.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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