Beauty in the Sacrifice

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

My sister, you have been given the Light, the Holy Spirit, not for your own edification but for the edification of others. You have not been infused with the Light of the Lord, so that you alone may live in peace. No! You have been entrusted with a great and beautiful brightness, and you have been called to spread this light to the nations. For the only purpose worth living for – the only goal worth striving for – is to bring “glory to your Father who is in heaven.” So, I charge you! Fan into flame this light that is within you (2 Timothy 1:6). It is time that we rise, oh Women of Faith, and claim the words in Jeremiah 20:9 as our own!

If I say, “I will not mention him,
    or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
    shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
    and I cannot. ~ Jeremiah 20:9 ~

There once was a very wealthy man who had everything he could ever ask for. He was living the dream. He had all the money, the power, the security to make a comfortable life. And now that he had conquered this world…what about the next? So, he approaches this man, Jesus, who he has heard talking about the life after death. Jesus has said that eternal life is available, and now this prosperous man must know how to obtain it. “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answers with living and revealing words: “You know right from wrong, and you live a good life. You generally make the right decision and you treat others kindly…but you have forgotten your first love! You may obey the “do’s” and “do not’s” of the Scriptures, but do you obey the calling to sacrifice?” The wealthy man does not understand. He has done everything right. He has worked with blood, sweat, and tears to obtain an enjoyable and satisfying life on earth, and he intends to do the same for the eternal life. But, you see, Jesus did not come to solidify for us a pleasant and convenient life. Rather, He came to change the rules. He looks at the young man and says, “My child. You know so little. You are blinded by your own human frailty. What I have to give cannot be earned. What if I asked you to walk away from it all? What if I asked you to sell everything you own, to forfeit your treasures and your prestige, to willingly sacrifice all but the clothes on your back? And follow Me?” Sadly, the wealthy man drops his head. “How can he leave everything he has worked so hard to obtain? How can Jesus even have the audacity to ask this of him! It’s not fair! He has worked so hard to get to where he is, and his wealth and prosperity is rightfully his. No, no. He can love his neighbor, he can omit from lying or stealing, he can even give his spare change to the poor and homeless…but this. No, this is too much.” So, at the edge of eternity, at the very moment where he decides his destiny, the rich man turns slowly…sadly…and walks away. And as his mind was already racing again with his business endeavors of the day, his heart unmistakably knew that he had missed out on something that was far greater than anything he would ever acquire on this earth. (Passage referenced: Luke 18:18-30)

The wonderful, perfect, and complete words of Scripture end this story in the best way: hope. As Peter and the disciples watch this exchange between their Master and this worldly man, they wonder, “We have left everything! We chose sacrifice! And not a day since Jesus called us out of the boat has been easy.” Jesus, patiently understanding that sometimes we need to be reminded that the way of the cross is worth it, offers Peter and His disciples the promise of hope. “Nothing that you can leave for My sake will compare to the glories awaiting you in Heaven. For every choice you make to place Me on My rightful throne as Lord in your life, will be rewarded in ways beyond your wildest dreams. The things of this world that you say goodbye to – in order to say yes to Me – will be compensated in ways beyond what you could possibly imagine. I am not preaching a prosperity gospel here, where Jesus will give you three cars if you give one car away. He will not give you a mansion if you leave your hut to follow Him. Now, He very well may if that is His will and in His gory to bring about His purposes in you and through you. But I think in this passage, Jesus is referring to His giving of PROVISION when you leave a high paying job to answer His calling – His COMPANY when you move to a new and strange place to answer His calling – His JOY in the midst of saying goodbye to people you love to answer His calling – His UNDERSTANDING and PEACE when what He is asking you to do does not make sense through the eyes of this world.

Go back and read the passage in Matthew 5:14-16. You have a choice to make today – a choice to make every day of your life. Will you be like the rich young ruler and consider the comforts of this world a higher thing to be grasped, unable to say “yes” when the Lord directs you? Or, will you say “yes, Lord,” and fan into flame the light of the Holy Spirit within you, and take this radiance of the Gospel to your neighbor, your co-worker, your sister, your father, and live for the only purpose worth living – the only goal worth striving for – to bring “glory to your Father who is in heaven?”

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