Sacrifice Must Resist Privilege
Sacrifice wasn’t really on my personal radar before I committed my life to Christ. I knew Jesus exemplified a life of sacrifice, but enduring a description of His Garden of Gethsemane struggle every year on Good Friday did not motivate me to follow suit—I was content to stay in the “let this cup pass from me” camp.
I became a believer late in my college years. After graduating, getting a job, attending an Alliance church, and starting to read my Bible more regularly, it wasn’t long before I ran into the biblical concept of sacrifice—specifically, tithing. My gut reaction was that 10 percent of my computer programmer’s salary was asking a lot, far beyond what I’d ever been motivated to throw in an offering plate on a “good sermon day!” But at some point, as the Holy Spirit did His work, I committed to this spiritual discipline. It felt like a huge sacrifice to me.
Imagine my surprise—and dismay—when the Holy Spirit further confronted me by the Scripture that says, “Present your bodies, a living and holy sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). In view of the mercies of God, 10 percent of my salary was merely a good place to begin! I began to see that 100 percent of everything about me really belonged to Him. My worship should be a “total life” kind of sacrifice.
In his book Beautiful Resistance, Jon Tyson challenges those of us in the American Church to look out for the interests of others and reminds us that Jesus is the ultimate expression of sacrifice resisting privilege. He left the Father’s side, the most privileged place of all, to live with and die for us in ignominy and shame.
Each of us is born in the place and time of God’s choosing, and some places and times are very hard. It is important to recognize the advantages that we possess and to be keenly aware of and responsive to the disadvantages of others. Some of the categories of advantage and disadvantage that Tyson mentions are economic, racial, religious, family, and education. But consider this—no matter where you fall on the spectrum of any of these categories, there’s always someone who needs your help. No one who loves God is exempt from the command to look out for the interests of others; no one who loves God should see a person in need and close her heart against that individual.
Jesus’ sacrifice was motivated by “the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). It did not make His sacrifice any less painful, but joy was the promised reward. Our sacrifices will not be painless. When we give something away, it’s gone. But the same joy has been set before us. Let’s pursue joy together through sacrifice.