Terry R. Baughman
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1 NIV).
Sacrifice, by definition, is giving up something that is valuable or meaningful to you in exchange for something that is even more significant. If the giving is not costly or something you do not regard with value, then it is not truly sacrifice.
David refused to accept a gift of the land where he desired to build an altar and offer sacrifice unto the Lord. He said, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24). David understood the concept of sacrifice and the inherent cost that is required. However, when he made the proper sacrifice, God responded and averted the plague of destruction that was on the people. He rightly observed, “Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great” (2 Samuel 24:14).
Though animal blood sacrifices were very much a part of the Old Covenant and provided a substitution for the judgment of sin on the people, David began to observe it was more than an offering of sacrifice that the Lord required. It was a change of heart and attitude that He was seeking. In David’s psalm of repentance he revealed this insight, “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:16–17). His prayer was, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
Sacrifices either in worship or in life will find their reward. Many experiences in Scripture and in history reveal this fact. The principle is whatever one sows he will also reap. “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8 NIV).
On Memorial Day we are again reminded of the tremendous sacrifices of others. Particularly, those who have given their lives in defense of our nation and our freedoms are worthy of honor. We recognize the ultimate price that has been paid so that we can enjoy peace and safety and the freedom to worship God according to our own conscience. These sacrifices cannot be considered lightly or taken for granted. While we relish in the rewards of their sacrifices and celebrate our freedoms we must never forget the cost of our liberties and the exchange that purchased our rewards.
Some will enjoy the long weekend for vacations, recreation in lakes or parks, or cookouts with family and friends. Others will attend Memorial Day remembrance ceremonies or parades to honor the fallen. However we choose to spend the weekend we should take a few minutes to remember those who gave so much. We are blessed because someone sacrificed for what we enjoy today!
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land” (Exodus 20:12).