By Nik Ripken
Your first response to the overwhelming biblical emphasis on sacrifice is probably predictable:
But God wouldn’t ask that of me. I’m not a character in a Bible story. I’m not a saint. I’m not like Esther or Abraham or Paul. I didn’t receive a clear call like Isaiah. God couldn’t possibly expect me to live the way those Bible characters lived.
It is one thing to read about God’s people in other times and other places who have sacrificed in obedience to God. It is another thing altogether to imagine that God would expect the same of us.
But why would God exempt us from the same sacrifice that He has required from His people throughout history?
God will do anything–ask for anything–demand anything . . . to fulfill His purpose. He even sent His only Son to fulfill His purpose. And when that Son arrived, He declared the purpose of God clearly and openly. “I have come,” Jesus said, “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
That is the purpose of God: to seek and to save the lost, for His glory.
As the people of God, it is both our privilege and our calling to embrace and share in God’s purpose. In fact, the very reason for our existence is to join God in His work.
God tells us in Isaiah that the feet that bring good news are “beautiful” (52:7). That concept is developed further, through Paul, in Romans 10:14-15. What is it, exactly, that makes feet beautiful? Feet are beautiful, according to Scripture, when they spread the Good News. In other words, feet are beautiful when they fulfill the purpose for which they were made.
God gave us feet so that we can go and share the Good News!
When we do so, we join God in seeking and saving the lost. We fulfill the purpose for which we were made. We are doing something that, according to God, is truly beautiful.
It is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) that defines how. We go! We go across the street. We go next door. We go down the hall. We go across town. We go across the ocean. And we go so that others will hear about Jesus.
But going will cost us something.
Going will require sacrifice.
What might we be asked to sacrifice?
Almost certainly our time. Maybe our money. We might be required to change our schedule. We will probably be asked to sacrifice our comfort, our safety, and our security. Our sacrifices will certainly affect us, but they will also affect our loved ones. Our sacrifice might affect our physical health, or our life goals.
It could be that we will be asked to sacrifice our very lives.
And if we believe that God wouldn’t possibly ask that of us . . . we might be very, very mistaken.
God cares so deeply for every person in this world that He will do whatever is necessary so that every person in this world has the opportunity to encounter His grace.
And God cares so deeply for you and for me that He will not allow us to miss out on being a part of what He is doing.
Amazingly, even the opportunity to sacrifice for the sake of the gospel is an expression of His grace!
NIK RIPKEN (@NikRipken) and his wife, Ruth, have served as missionaries for more than 30 years, much of that time spent serving persecuted Christians.