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Sacrifice must cost something

Pastor's corner

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POSTED: April 17, 2007 5:00 a.m.
“But King David replied to Oman, ‘No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.’”
— I Chronicles 21:24

I am excited about Lent. The dates vary each year according to the date of Easter. In Western Christianity Lent begins on Ash Wednesday six and a half weeks before Easter. It ends on Holy Saturday, the last day of Holy Week, which immediately precedes Easter Sunday.
The fasting period lasts 40 days (Sundays are excluded). During fasting practices vary among Christian denominations and individuals. Christians traditionally make sacrifices during this time in preparation for the grand celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Christ. Common practices include abstaining from meat, eating only one full meal each day, and fasting entirely one day each week.
It is a fact the Christian life is about sacrifice, not just 40 days, but a lifetime. A sacrifice in religious terms is a voluntary act of offering to a deity something precious. When Christians sacrifice for Christ we honor our God, we concentrate on what is important and we motivate others.
When King David had an opportunity to make a sacrifice to God on land he did not purchase, be boldly stated he would not offer a sacrifice to his God that cost him nothing.
During Lent we often think a day of fasting or giving up our favorite drink will put us in special standing with God.  While I applaud any effort to honor God, I must declare real sacrifice will and should cost something. Real sacrifice can cost you your reputation, riches and relatives. But like David we must remain undaunted and announce, “I will do even more the next time.”
May we find our Lent challenge in the words this great hymn: “You have longed for sweet rest, and have earnestly, fervently prayed, but you cannot have rest or be perfectly blessed until your all on the altar is laid. Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid, your heart does the spirit control. You can only be blessed and have peace and sweet rest as you yield Him your body and soul.
Would you walk with the Lord, in the light of His word, And have peace and contentment always? You must do His sweet will, to be free from all ill, on the altar your all you must lay. Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid? Your heart does the Spirit control? You can only be blessed, and have peace and sweet rest, as you yield Him your body and soul.”

Scott is pastor of Baconton Missionary Baptist Church.
 

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