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Friday, December 13, 2013

Sacrificial Summit Prayers of Ascent - Day #13


2 Samuel 24:24 – “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
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We are in the final days of our Sacrificial Summit as a church.  This is my second to last bit of writing on the idea of giving and this is the last weekend of what we’ve been calling our “Banner Years Initiative” for our building expansion.  We called it a sacrificial summit for obvious reasons…we’re stretching to do something financially that is beyond our comfort zone.  If we weren’t we would call it a “Soft Summit” or a “Soothing Summit”.  But this initiative involves prayer, faith and, above all, sacrifice. 

This short passage today is something King David said toward the end of his life.  It was stated in response to someone who was inferring that he didn’t need to “pay a price” for his offering to God.  I gleaned some truths today as I mulled this over…

#1 – Sacrifice, by virtue of it’s quintessential meaning, has to cost you something.
#2 – People who truly understand sacrifice refuse to offer a gift that has no cost. 
#3 – Nothing that is valuable is free.  Nothing.  It might be free to you, but it always costs someone something.  Anything that deeply matters comes with a price tag.
#4 – As my coach said in college: “You have to pay the price to pursue your passion.” 
#5 – The cost of our sacrifice often reflects the worth of cause.  

I said at the end of the service this past weekend before the One-Time Sacrificial Offering: “If you are giving because of human guilt or pressure, please don’t give.”  I immediately heard my flesh say, “You idiot!  You just let everyone off the hook!  You should take anything from anyone for any reason!”  But I do not believe that.  My creeds scream otherwise.  It matters a great deal to me that people are giving with that same heart David describes in this passage.  Offerings of sacrifice that don’t consider the cost are often not considering the One to Whom they’re given. 

I believe that when we count the cost of our sacrifice because we’ve weighed the worth of our God, there is gravity in our generosity that brings glory to God and grace to us.  That is worth more than money.  That is priceless.

“God, in a world that gives you the leftovers, we long to give you the firstfruits.  We believe you are worthwhile and worthy, and because of that belief, we are not going to bring you costless worship.  The rest of us instead of the best of us.  You are deserving of costly sacrifice, the kind of offering that carries the weight of our worship.  You are the Highest and the Greatest.  You are priceless and precious beyond words, and I pray that our sacrifices are befitting your glory.  Only we know that in our hearts, only you know that in Yours.  We will not offer to you that which costs us nothing.  In Your holy name, Amen.”

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