Sacrificing at What Cost?

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When was the last time you sacrificed for another with no expectation of getting anything in return?

...I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing" (2 Samuel 24:24).

One day I was having lunch with a man who had a certain amount of notoriety in his life. After a time of getting to know each other, he said, "How can I help you?" Those words surprised me coming from a man who obviously already had many requirements on his time. My first thought was that I was impressed with the individual. My next thought was to wonder whether it was a genuine offer or just an effort to impress me with his humility and Christian piety. I have since discovered he was sincere.

This encounter reminded me that each of us must be willing to give to others without a motive to get anything in return. It is simply an act of serving others. Jesus said that we must consider others more important than ourselves. When is the last time you did something for another without a motive of getting anything in return?

When King David came to offer a sacrifice and pray for the removal of a plague on Israel, he was given the opportunity to make the sacrifice without the cost of purchasing the sacrificial animals.

But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped (2 Samuel 24:24-25).

David, understanding the principle of giving, said he could not offer anything to God that did not cost him something. Otherwise, it was not a sacrificial gift.

When was the last time you sacrificed for another with no expectation of getting anything in return? We can all give something to others, such as our time, our money, or our expertise. This is real Christianity that models the Spirit of Christ. The next time you meet with someone, why not consider how you might be a blessing to that person. Why not ask, "How can I help you?"

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