A Living Sacrifice
Good Morning everyone, my name is Marc Araujo. I’m here to talk with you about being a Living Sacrifice. What do you think of when you hear the words sacrificing yourself? It makes me think about, giving bits of myself to God. Like my time, my skills, my abilities. I have to admit that I struggle with giving all of myself and all that it entails. I want to give God my all, but there are certain parts that I don’t want to give up. Certain areas that are either personal to me or just sensitive or even embarrassing.
Imagine you have a house and it has rooms and it has closets and chairs and other bits of furniture. Each room has a purpose and each piece of furniture has a reason. Now one day, a glorious day, you ask Jesus into your house. He comes in willingly and looks around, and walks around. After a little bit you say let’s sit down for dinner. You offer Him your food your drink and He enjoys a meal with you. Now there are some things that need adjusting, like the book on the coffee table. It’s not appropriate and Jesus asks you to get rid of it. You think that’s fine and do so willingly. Jesus is in your house and you are so excited that you do it without a second thought. Each day something new needs to be removed or taken down. A picture here, a line of words on a poster over there, slowly your house is getting “cleaned up”. Voluntarily you are helping Jesus put your house in order as you surrender more of your house to Him. These are minor changes, nothing major just little things that Jesus asks you to change. Then one day Jesus starts working on the Basement rooms and the Upstairs rooms. But maybe there are sections in your house you are hoping He will overlook. I’m sure each one of us has something that we don’t want to give up, some areas of our life that we don’t want others to know about, let alone Jesus. Guess what, Jesus already knows about all those parts of your life. He wants to help you, not judge you.
See, you invited Him in. You asked Him to change your house. Jesus is willing, but when he gets to those rooms that are, in our terms, “off limits”, that’s a whole other story. See this is where the sacrifice comes in. Are you willing to give your entire life to Jesus? Every room in your heart, even the ones you don’t want Him to enter? That is what being a Follower of Jesus is all about. It’s about giving your time, your skills, your family, your everything. Not living with the world, but living in the world as Jesus wants us to Live. Setting our sights on God’s standard of Living and Being, instead of our own. Living for Jesus instead of ourselves. Trust in God above all else and you will Live a Sacrificial Life.
Paul talked about living a sacrificial life in Romans Chapter 12 verses 1-3 1 I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical "Temple worship" for you. 2 In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the 'olam hazeh (this present world). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed. 3 For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead, develop a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given to each of you, namely, trust.” When you take the time to Live a Sacrificial Life you actually start to live for others instead of yourself. This is what Jesus demands us to do. Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, your Soul and your Mind. And then Love your neighbor as yourself.
When I was much younger I used to volunteer with my grandmother at Folt’s Home a retirement and assisted living facility in Herkimer. She would help out with the Coffee Hour and so would I. I would sneak cookies and I would help people on and off the elevators and get them from their rooms and even set them up so I could snag a glass of juice too. After everyone was seated and ready, I would go and visit with those that didn’t want to come down or couldn’t for one reason or another. I would sit with them and listen to the most interesting stories they had to share. It was fascinating and enjoyable. What I was doing was, loving my neighbor. I already loved God, so now I was going a step further.
Another way of looking at it would be “Turning Your Chair Toward Another”. Turning your chair toward someone is a term that’s used to suggest something people have a hard time doing these days. Loving our neighbor or being a Living sacrifice. So since we are talking about a retirement home, let’s keep with that theme. Imagine if you will, a Retirement home in Florida. This is actually a true story that I’m retelling. At the home there is a deck going round half of the building. On that deck are rocking chairs all facing out at a ninety degree angle from the building. Now imagine if you will all these seniors sitting in the chairs and just facing out, rocking. Not looking at their neighbor in the seat beside them or talking to them or anything. Just sitting there and rocking. No other movement. Now I don’t know about you, but I would want to start dancing or jumping or doing something, you know to get their attention, be a little entertaining, anything to see more movement then just rocking.
Now imagine if you will that those chairs are now turned toward each other. So that each chair is facing another chair, two by two you might say. With that setup, each person would be facing another person. They would actually have the opportunity to talk to each other. Look into the eyes of the other person. Be engaging and have a personal conversation. They will be able to take the time to talk to each other, sacrificing a little bit of their day to make a difference in someone’s life. That’s being a neighbor. That’s being a Living Sacrifice. That’s what we do when we Love God above all else. We Live as God wants us to. It’s not Rocket Science. It’s God’s command. It’s Basic. It’s Simple. How can you be a Living Sacrifice? By Loving God so much that you allow Him to show you how to Love others. Take the time to invest your Life in God and the dividends, the returns and the benefits will far exceed what you put in. A Living Sacrifice is giving your all to God so He can direct you to give to others.