Sacrificing What Matters Most
Genesis 22:We can only imagine Abraham's feelings when God told him to sacrifice Isaac. Child sacrifice would have been familiar to Abraham from his exposure to pagan religious practices. But God had never required anything like this. Abraham would have been shocked, no doubt, and also deeply concerned, even grieved. Hadn't God promised him a son through whom he would have countless descendants? Wasn't Isaac the child who fulfilled the promise? Now God was asking him to sacrifice the one thing that mattered most in his life.
Though God doesn't ask us to sacrifice our children to him in a literal sense, he does ask us to surrender to him that which we love most of all. Indeed, our children, our marriages, our careers, our security . . . all of these and more God asks us to offer to him. Growth in faith always means deeper surrender.
Of course this is something Jesus understands profoundly. The story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22 reminds us of another time when a son, indeed, the Son, was to be offered in sacrifice. This time there was no lamb to take his place. Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, was crucified as the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Though led to the cross by his Heavenly Father, he did not go as an unwilling victim, but as one who chose to give up his very life for the sake of love. In Jesus, we see the ultimate example of self-giving sacrifice.
PRAYER: Merciful God, every time I read this story of Abraham I cringe. I can't imagine what I would have done if I were in his position. I find it hard to trust you with simple things. How hard it would be to offer that which I love most in life. Yet I know, dear Lord, that you ask for complete surrender. You ask me to offer my whole life to you, all that I have and all that I am. So help me to do this more and more. May I surrender to you even this day the things in my life I tend to hold back from you. May I offer you my children, my marriage, my work, my dreams . . .
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
(Excerpt from Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrate by Frances Havergal, 1874)