Monday, May 14, 2007

The price of sacrifice

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: 1 Chronicles 19, 20, 21 (NIV)

I Chronicles 21:20-24 (NIV)
20 While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground. 22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.” 23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my Lord the King do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.” 24 But King David replied to Araunah, “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.”

Good morning!

I have always treasured handmade gifts. My mother and grandmother taught me how to knit when I was very young. One of my aunts was masterful at crocheting. I have never seen anything more beautiful than the baby sweaters and blankets she used to make. Every Saturday, the four of us would sit together, and solve all the world’s problems while rocking and stitching in my grandmother’s living room. I made lots of potholders, neck scarves and even a poncho out of bright orange yarn. Mom liked to knit sweaters and vests. Grandmother tatted and crocheted beautiful bedspread overlays and tablecloths. I have a tablecloth that my grandmother made for me. I’ve displayed it on several tables in my home, and it has been proudly used at every wedding for our children. I need to wash it, but I’m afraid it will shrink up to nothing. It needs a good cleaning so that we can use it when our grandchildren marry. My aunt could knit a baby set, including a sweater, cap, booties and blanket in one sitting. I have never seen anyone knit as fast as auntie. It seemed as if they never made mistakes. I, on the other hand, continually kept stopping to rip out a section to pick up a missed stitch. The women in my family were talented and blessed, and they gave away a little piece of themselves every time they made a handmade treasure to share with someone else.

King David had messed up in a big way, and the people of Israel were paying for his sin with their lives. A plague, carried by an angel of the Lord, had wiped out 70,000 people in one fell swoop. Jerusalem was about to be destroyed when the Lord saw David’s grieving spirit and had compassion. The Lord instructed the angel to withdraw the hand of destruction from Israel. David recognized the need to back up and rip out the sin of pride and self-reliance that had led him into some serious errors. David knew he had grieved the very heart of God. Grief can be a bitter pill to swallow when we realize how selfish sin affects the lives of those around us. David needed God’s forgiveness in the worst way. He made an offer to purchase Araunah’s threshing floor so that he could build an altar of sacrifice to the Lord. Araunah saw the angel hovering as he looked into the eyes of his king. He was willing to give the land to David free of charge; yet, David knew that every gift given to God must come at a personal price. How could David offer the Lord something for nothing? Only a sacrificial gift would do.

What are you willing to sacrifice to the Lord today? Would you offer Him a half-hearted prayer, five minutes of Bible reading, and a thirty-second table grace? Is it enough to sit in church one hour every week? Is your giving just a token pledge or something that costs you dearly? How much love is placed in the gifts we return to the Lord? Are you be willing to give everything you’ve got, if it meant that someone might find eternal life through the saving power of Jesus Christ?

The gift of salvation is the very best gift you will ever receive. It is God’s gift through Christ, free of charge, to every person who professes, confesses and places their total faith in Him. This is not a gift we can earn and it is certainly not something we deserve. Jesus Christ gave His life for our redemption. If you have received this gift of grace, are you willing to sacrifice the very best of what you have to extend that gift to another soul this morning? The price of sacrifice is high. What will you sacrifice for your Lord?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: the desire to give God the very best you have to offer Him. Token pledges and half-hearted effort will never ever do. Give the gift of yourself and see what the Lord Jesus Christ can do with one grateful heart. He can use your life for kingdom work, if you are willing to pay the price of sacrifice.
© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding
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