This Sunday morning a good friend of mine is running a marathon. Her journey up to this point has not come without sacrifice. She has been training hard even with the responsibility of being a loving wife and mother to 4 beautiful kids. And even though it’s Texas, it’s December in Texas so it is still about 40 degrees outside this morning. It will be a nice cool run. I am always inspired to hear of ordinary individuals doing extraordinary things. In my friend’s eyes, she has sacrificed little compared to what she will gain when she crosses that finish line this morning. Thinking on that, I can’t help but make the connection to our relationship with Christ and our worship to Him.
The story of Abraham bringing his son Isaac to the altar comes to mind when we think of sacrifice in worship. It’s easy to see the obedience of Abraham and the value in that lesson but what of Isaac’s words? He asks his father, “Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burned offering?” Everything was set; the altar, the wood, the place was right. Even though everything looked acceptable in its appearance there was clearly something missing. Where was the sacrifice in this act of worship?
There must come a point in our worship where we begin to sacrifice something of ourselves to God (2 Sam 24:24). There is something in each of us that can be brought into the glorious light of the living God to be laid at the altar. Maybe it’s our pride or bitterness in heart. Maybe the sacrifice to God is opening up the secret places of our hearts for Him to come into. To do so means we would have to tear down walls we built around ourselves and unlock our deep longing, caged by fear. Whatever it is “God himself will provide the offering” (Gen 22:8). He will reveal to you in that moment of true sacrifice what He desires for an offering as He did for Abraham.
We have to realize that Abraham didn’t come to God that day thinking he was going to get something in return. He was being obedient to an all powerful, just and loving God. He knew that if his son was to be the sacrifice, as painful as that was in that moment it didn’t compare to what awaited on the other side. Making ourselves vulnerable in worship may seem difficult to bear but the deeper relationship we gain with our heavenly Father, will be greater than anything we could lose.
“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 true worship.” Romans 12:1