As I was preparing for Monday's mission trip meeting, this passage from 2 Samuel 24 came to mind. We are a team with an interesting combination of backgrounds, skills, and testimonies. Some of us can give the "Christian all my life" story and some of us begin with, "my parents didn't care what religion we chose." One thing God has really put on my heart for these students (and myself) is that we must all be challenged as David was when it comes to sacrifice:
But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”
When God spoke through Gad to tell David to build an altar in a certain field (not coincidentally the same field where Abraham brought Isaac all those years ago), David was more than ready to do so. He went to the field and inquired with the owner. The owner was like, buy it? No, you can just have it! I can't really blame him.... David was the king and a pretty powerful one at that. But David refused. He couldn't stand the thought of his obedience costing him nothing. He refused to offer sacrifices to the Lord without paying for it.
I love this.
We, as Christians, are constantly on the hunt for sacrifices that are easy. We'll even do a lot of them - join a lot of clubs, movements, shoe drives, fundraisers, trips, camps - you name it and we'll do it (as long as there is something in it for us and it doesn't hurt too badly). We do want so much to help, serve, love, and give ... but our 'between the lines' prayer is always, "Lord, please don't make it hurt too much. Please, let it come easy and be good and obviously victorious... and Lord, most of all don't let people laugh at me while I'm doing it."
Really? Yes, really. Of all the things we are afraid of, I really think embarrassment tops the list. The people who are facing death (in my opinion) are more bold in their efforts than those of us facing a few sneers or rejections.
What can we learn from David's response to God's request? When God calls us to do something we should be surprised if there is no cost involved. We should question our obedient actions if we aren't feeling discomfort. If we are presenting our lives as sacrifices, then we might just expect to feel the sacrifices crowding our everyday 'normal.'
But, you know what we can also expect? God's presence.
After David built the altar in the field he insisted on buying, God responded to the needs of the land.
Not that we need more reason than God's gracious dealing with us, but God gives more reason - He shows up. He welcomes a broken and contrite heart and refreshes a weary spirit. When we put everything on the line (even our expectations of His response), He will never disappoint.
that's reason enough to
let LOVE fly like cRaZy