More on Sacrifice

Before we move to the next section in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount I wanted to spend a little bit more time on the idea of sacrifice.  The martyred missionary, Jim Elliott, wrote in his journal, “He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”  There is such wisdom in that sentence.  It is reminiscent of Jesus’ words, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul.”

Jim Elliott’s quote goes to the core of sacrifice.  Yes, the follower of Jesus is called to sacrifice…to the point of actually “costing” him/her something.  The follower is called to give something…time, money, etc…  But the follower is called to sacrifice that which he/she really cannot keep anyway.  We cannot bankroll money for eternity.  It goes away when we die; at least as far as it’s benefit to us.  We cannot save time for use later.  All time and money originate from God anyway.  Yet, when we sacrifice time and money for the cause of the gospel, we actually “gain” things that we will never lose.  We gain heavenly and eternal rewards.  Now, I don’t claim to understand exactly how that “reward thing” works as far as heaven is concerned but I know that if God is in charge of the reward program I’m excited about it.

Our problem is that we hold on too tightly to the things that we have been given as if these things are really “ours”.  They are not ours to keep, they are ours to give away.  And it is a privilege to give our stuff and ourselves “away” for the glory of God.

By the way, if you are not a follower of Jesus, the money and time that you have are still gifts from God; you’re just not acknowledging that.  And, like the follower of Jesus, those gifts have a pretty short expiration date.  I hope you will consider what Jesus says and consider His claims on your life.  Enter into a relationship with Him and begin to sacrifice those temporary gifts for eternal rewards.



  • Thank you for you thoughtful reply. I agree, if the Spirit is not asking me to sacrifice in a specific situation I will not. But I must me open to some “crazy” things He may be asking me to do. It really is a very fine line we walk. And it is so easily to rationalize and quote bible verses out of context to prove our points. “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

  • Mark,

    You know that this stuff isn’t so easy when you put specific situations in the mix. It is much easier to speak in broad terms and platitudes. But I’ll try to answer the best I can…fully knowing that specific people and relationships might dictate another response.

    1. My answer here assumes that the union contract is a legal document and thereby working unpaid overtime would be a violation of that contract and requesting a worker to do so would also be a violation. If that assumption is correct, then I believe the employee has to refuse to work the overtime unless it is approved. However, if the requested overtime is in an emergency situation or is for only a very brief period of time or is a “once in a great while” type of situation, then I think it would be OK, but should then be reported to the union steward or official.

    2. We do not give to everyone who asks but we do try to help in some way, everyone who asks. Matthew 6:42 has to be held in tension with Paul’s words on the importance of work. It is not possible for us to evaluate each phone call to determine if we are truly helping by giving money or groceries. What we do ask is that the person allow us to be involved in their lives; to get to know them and seek ways to help them long-term.

    3. A Christian banker would be bound by written and approved guidelines for his/her business which would establish the viability of a potential loan customer. I don’t think the banker can go against those guidelines; nor is obligated to do so. I would hope that a Christian banker might be willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt if possible.

    4. I’ll refer this question to Brian K. 🙂 Really, I think these words of Jesus need to be applied in light of other scripture that we have as well; and the direct leading of the Holy Spirit. I think that the Spirit plays a large role and can often lead us to do some pretty “crazy” things.

    5. I think I would tell her that you can’t do that right now because your wife is waiting at church. I believe I would offer to help with the errand later in the day.

    6. Yes, I think we could do that.

    7. I think I would not say anything about this unless I felt it rose to the level of possible injury to the dog or the other person.

    8. I think the contractor could forgive the balance of the debt but I don’t think Jesus’ words here “command” him to forgive the debt. What I do believe is that the contractor should do all that he/she can to receive the payment without taking him or her to court; especially if the person is a believer. If both people are Christians, they should take the dispute to the church who should assist in resolving the problem.

    9. I think my answer here is pretty much the same as the overtime question.

  • I have some scenarios for you to ponder;
    1 You are a christian working under Union contract and your manager wants you to work past your quitting time without overtime pay. What do you do?
    2 Does the BVCOB always give to anyone who asks?
    3 If you are a christian banker do you loan money to anyone?
    4 You are a christian farmer and someone asks you for a steer, do you give it to him for free?
    5 Your wife is waiting at church to get a ride home until you drop off a person who you regularly transport to church and back. As you drive this person to her house she asks you if you would mind letting her do some grocery shopping at the Weis. You know from past experience that this will be an hour event. You do not have a cell phone. What do you tell her?
    6 Should the BVCOB send care packages to Muslim extremists?
    7 You are personally told at work that you can not take you dog with you in the State pickup, but see another worker regularly taking his dog in his State Truck. What do you do?
    8 A christian contractor builds a house for someone, but that person refuses to pay the agreed upon amount in full. What does the contractor do?
    9 Your union contract allows you to have a 30 minute lunch break that is not paid for. You supervisor is with you one day and demands that you eat your lunch in the truck while he drives to the next location. What do you do?

    Mark A Hofmann

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