Sacrifice always held a punitive meaning to me, until recently. I used to think it required suffering or mournful loss. Maybe that was because what was forfeited may have held worth or desire. But my view of it changed when posed a question about what I was willing to sacrifice for something I valued.
What would I sacrifice for: my health, my faith, my family? Was it really a sacrifice to give up junk food so that my body would stop being slammed with inflammation and sugar surges? Was it really a loss to say no to an event that cost me time and focus with the people I’m called to care for and who I love so much under my roof? Was it a hardship to turn away from media sources that promote dissension, perversion, and hatred? How did comfort foods, pressures and pop culture ever gain worth or desire in the first place?
In Numbers, there are stipulations of what an offering to the Lord looks like, by quality, frequency, and measurement.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the people of Israel and say to them, ‘My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.’Numbers 28:1, ESV
When finer things were offered up to the Lord, how does a cheap muffin even qualify for a sacrifice?
Paul demonstrates how to live life as an offering.
10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”Acts 21:10-14, ESV
He was willing to face imprisonment or even death for the name of the Lord.
Lord, you have given me time, ability, treasure, heart, and health to steward. My view of these things is clearer in light of these Scriptures–an offering of value and intention in the giving–for you, who I value most. It is all yours to begin with. If from these things I present an offering to you, please help me to be intentional to honor and glorify you with my life.