Comfort vs. Sacrifice

  

People naturally avoid pain, sacrifice and just about anything unpleasant. Instead, we strive after comfort, peace, luxury and the like. The entire American Dream is based on this concept: work hard so you can play hard. This is humanity. This is the broken world in which we live. A world where we would rather put our extra money aside for a vacation than to share it with the three homeless people we passed on the drive home. Most would agree that this is wrong, but what is the motivation to change it?
Christians have a motivation. Applied to the Christian Church, this pursuit of comfort turns even uglier. Our entire faith is based on sacrifice. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and we in response make sacrifices for Him and for others. While the world is striving for comfort, we are called to strive for sacrifice. Work hard to play hard? No, work hard so you can give. Jesus is emphatic about this, as can be seen in the Scriptures. In Matthew 5:40-42, He said “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” In Matthew 19, Jesus turned away a young man who appeared to be righteous because he was unwilling to sell all he had and give the money to the poor. The problem here is that the man was not willing to sacrifice; he cared more about his possessions than he did the Lord. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4 that he was being “poured out as a drink offering.” He was willing to pour his life out for the advancement of the Gospel and the good of others. This is what our lives should look like. We are called to sacrifice in every area of our lives: money, time, energy, even our lives, when the opportunity arises. 
I struggle with this in many ways, but my primary issue is in sacrificing my time. I am always in a rush to finish what I am doing, not because I dislike what I am working on, but because for some odd reason I think what I will be doing next is better. Rather than enjoy the moment and use it the best way I can for God’s kingdom, I rush through the task in pursuit of a better one. Yet the “better” one never fulfills. My prayer has become that the Lord will help me to live in the moment and use the moment in whatever way I can to serve Him. I want to be willing to “be poured out” for the good of others, even if it means giving up my “free time” or my sleep time.
Until we learn to sacrifice, we will be ineffective Christians who are almost inseparable from the world around us. Who are we helping by pursuing comfort? Pursue sacrifice not for its own sake, but for theirs.

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