I could be missing the point on this but it has convicted me nonetheless
20 "But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal."
I was doing my Bible study this week and that verse was a part of it. I couldn't stop thinking about what it means to sacrifice. I also couldn't think of something that I have actually had to sacrifice for God. I know that the Lord wants me to do what He said rather than ritual sacrifices, but I do desire to give sacrificailly. 22 But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. It got me thinking about the building campaign College Park went through about a year ago. Heidi and I agreed on an amount that we would contribute and sacrifice for the building. I guess it has been just now that I realized we might have been wrong.
Our number would have stretched us a bit because we took money out of our 'entertainment' and 'eating out' lines of our budget. Of course there was still some money in those categories, but it was just less.
Is not going to McDonald's a true sacrifice? If I didn't go there, I would still have food at home. If there wasn't food at home, there was still money in the grocery budget to buy some. So really, I wasn't doing without, or actually sacrificing anything...was I?
Since we've been on our 'not buying' kick, I think I've actually started to detox from consumption a little and my priorities or even just the way I see things is different. So is there the an American sacrifice interpretation that goes into my faith? Is not going on a vacation considered a sacrifice?
I don't know if gas money could be considered a sacrifice or not, either, but it is probably the closest I've actually come. When we did our budget, our gas was set for an average amount that included my commute to work, a few errands, and our weekly trip to church. Heidi and I were also not apart of our current flock group (which we love) and didn't really have anywhere else to go. Since then, we are making about 3 trips a week to the northwest side of Indy and Heidi has one trip downtown to IUPUI.... so our gas has almost doubled - not to mention the rise in prices. But was is the 'true cost' here? The truer costs would have been entertainment money or eating out...but since we are not doing that, it is only really costing us an extension in paying off debt. The opprotunity cost is really nothing. We were spiritually in a drout for a long time - too long. So we are basically sacrificing savings and retirement for current spiritual development. I think it is worth it.
I'm fortunate, being an America, because I've never had to go hungry - even if things did get bad for us, there are services and programs that are there to help...not to mention GOD.
My favorite speaker just mentioned, in his latest film, "Don't pray for God to feed the hungry while you have food." Ouch! Don't pray for God to meet the needs of others when you are unwilling to sacrifice what HE has given you in the first place.
I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this, but I have to go!