In his blog entry called Sacrifice vs. Offering, Brian Bill quotes a missionary who when asked about the sacrifices missionaries must make, explained it this way:
"It might feel like a sacrifice at the beginning but once you lay it on the altar, it becomes an offering."
And that thought reminded me of a story I read years ago about an elderly minister who came to the end of his career and reflected that when he was a young man, he dreamed of doing heroic things for God. In those early years he often prayed and “laid it all on the altar” for the Lord, hoping that he would have the honor of making a big sacrifice for the Kingdom. He knew in his heart that he was truly willing to do it. Whatever it was, whatever the Lord asked, he would give it freely.
Now that he was old and near the end of his life, he looked back and realized that the Lord had never asked of him any great, momentous sacrifice. In monetary terms, he had never been asked to “lay it all on the altar” the way martyrs have been asked to do over the centuries. No, for him the demand from the Lord was, in a way, far greater. Looking back over the years, he realized that the sacrifice had been something like “a dollar a day.” Nothing spectacular, nothing people write books about, nothing heroic in the usual sense of the word.
And he said the great struggle of his life had been to cheerfully give to the Lord “a dollar a day” as his sacrifice.
That story resonates because when we are young, we dream of doing great exploits, of conquering kingdoms, of fighting great battles, of winning hard-fought victories, of proving our mettle by taking on some great challenge. But for nearly all of us, the “great battle” is simply being faithful every day in whatever God calls us to do.
Few of us will be martyrs.
Few of us will be remembered in the history books.
question for this Wednesday is not, what great sacrifice will I make
for the Lord? If he wants a great sacrifice from mes, he will let me
know in due time. The bigger question is, will I give my “dollar a
day” to him, gladly doing whatever he puts in front of me, knowing that
when I do that, small as it may seem to me, my sacrifice becomes an
offering in his sight.