July 1: True Sacrifice
Today’s Reading: Galatians 6:6-10
So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Galatians 6:9
A MOTHER WAS preparing pancakes for her two young sons, Kevin and Ryan. The boys began arguing over who would get the first pancake. The mother scolded them, and then took the opportunity to relay some moral truths to her children.
“What would Jesus do if he were here?” asked the mother. The boys shrugged their shoulders in unison. “Jesus would insist that his brother take the first pancake,” she told them. “And then he would wait for the next one.”
The boys nodded, and the mother felt confident that her lesson had taken. She turned her back and continued baking, but soon heard her oldest boy whispering to the younger one, “Ryan, you be Jesus.”
It’s a cute story, but at times it hits a little too close to home to be very funny. How often do you and I see an opportunity for good and instead of acting, wait for someone else to play the part of Jesus? Ever cast your eyes downward in a meeting hoping someone else will volunteer for the sacrificial jobs? Ever looked the other way when a brother in need walked past you? Ever passed the buck to a deacon when news of a needy family came your way? “I’m a little busy at the moment. Why don’t you be Jesus?”
I’ve been guilty more than once of leaving the tough jobs to others. I know a couple who have spent years working in inner-city missions, and we’ve spent years supporting them. Somehow it makes me feel noble and sacrificial. At least it did until we took a trip to visit them for the weekend. I saw firsthand the way they lived and ministered to some of the most needy and helpless people in our country, and suddenly I didn’t feel quite as merciful for my small contributions. Here’s a little money. Why don’t you be Jesus?
“We are each responsible for our own conduct,” writes the apostle Paul. “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time” (Galatians 6:5, 8-9). It’s easy to let others be Jesus for us, but a true follower doesn’t pass on that responsibility when it comes. Jesus expects more from us than we often expect from ourselves. Sacrifice means getting involved, not just getting others to do it.
In what ways do you allow others to do the work of Christ for you? How can you take more responsibility in service to Jesus?
Embracing Eternity: Living Each Day with a Heart Toward Heaven.
Galatians 6:6-10 (CEV)
6 Share every good thing you have with anyone who teaches you what God has said.
7 You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant.
8 If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life.
9 Don’t get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don’t give up.
10 We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord.