Precious Material

Pain shows tension between what I want and what I don’t have. It teaches me what needs to be placed — and replaced — on the alter for Christ. Elizabeth Elliot said, “God gives us material for sacrifice.”

Do you ever feel like you have an onslaught of material for the alter? Is that good?

This weekend I noticed the frequent command to sacrifice thanksgiving throughout the Psalms (see Psalm 50:14). Pause. What does that mean?

Sometimes praise flows freely. It doesn’t seem to cost me anything. But when it’s hard to see and trust His goodness, that’s when I must call upon the name of the Lord to offer a SACRIFICE of thanksgiving (Psalm 116:17).

I want to say, “Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O Lord, for it is good” (Psalm 54:6). Even though it doesn’t always FEEL good, it IS good.

Adrian Rogers pointed out the 5 sacrifices laid out in Scripture: the sacrifice of your praise, the sacrifice of your prayer, the sacrifice of your person, the sacrifice of your possessions and the sacrifice of your purity.

In thinking about these 5 categories, the adjective precious strikes me. God asks us to give Him everything, including some without-a-doubt treasured dreams and gifts.

The Lord Jesus isn’t clueless about the bittersweet hardness of this “alter call.” Our hearts are deceitful and can be entangled in sin which He asks us to be free from, but there are also good desires wound up in those human heartstrings. I take comfort in the truth that He understands because He has already counted the cost, just as He has asked us to count the cost.

He tasted the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have the joy of giving back to Him.

And I’m convinced He knows how precious our dreams are because He designed them.

No one loves God’s gifts more than He does! So can I willingly offer thanks to Him in the presence and absence of them?

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me” (Psalm 50:23). With all this in view, I find myself grateful and more willing for precious “material to sacrifice” in thanksgiving.

This honors Him.

And He is fully worth it.

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