“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Rom 12:1 (Amplified)
I knew what I had to do, but I was very reluctant to do it. I had to apologise to my pastor, even though I hadn’t really done anything wrong or so I thought. He had done something to me and I had reacted badly and was barely talking to him. I felt a holy anger towards him and was prepared to have nothing to do with him until he had apologised. I was so sure and totally convinced of my rightness that I even promised God that if at any time I found out that I was wrong on this issue, I would be the first to apologise to him.
Well, God took me up on that challenge and pointed out where I had gone wrong. I had failed to walk in love and to worsen the situation, I was insisting on my own right, (1 Cor 13), which to God is the same as being wrong. Now that God has shown me to be in the wrong, I had to fulfil my promise, but that was hard, so I kept shifting the deed forward and continued serving God.
As time went on, I was seconded to another parish to cover for the drummer who was going on holiday, so I sacrificially threw myself into the role and as such people were touched by my dedication. It wasn’t a paid job and I didn’t have any money, so I had to walk long distances just to get to the services so that God’s people could praise Him. I felt good about myself and was enjoying the experience; that was until God spoke to me and reminded me of what I needed to do. His specific words to me were ‘To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of ram.’ 1 Sam 15:22b. In other words, all my sacrifices meant nothing without my obeying His word. I knew I had to eat the detested humble pie and get my relationship right with my pastor or I would just be wasting my time and effort, however gallant they may be.
God’s measure of our love for as well as the validity of our service to Him is our obedience of His word. Whenever we choose to serve Him and disobey His word, we exalt ourselves above His word and thus make our service of non effect. It is only rational that if we are going to serve God sacrificially that we do so in a way that He would at least be pleased with us. The only way we can achieve that lofty end is by dedicating every aspect of our lives to obeying His word. So, as reasonable people, let us do all that is in our power to give an excellent service to a God who deserves more than our best.
Father, sometimes I am like Martha who was so preoccupied with service that she failed to do what was needful. Help me to sit at your feet and humble myself, so that I will learn from you how to give a reasonable service and make a worth while offering of my life in Jesus Name. Amen.