My friend, may I ask you a question? When it comes to sacrifice, what really is God asking of us? Does the pain and sorrow of suffering always have a dividend?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m M. Clifford Brunner?
We recently attended a piano recital. The room where the recital took place was ordinary except for a huge mural at the far end. It featured a medieval theme of a parade of men, stripped to their wastes, following a procession of monks hold- ing an icon. What was so fascinating about it was the fact that each of the men held whips with which they were inflicting punishment on themselves.Their backs displayed the wounds that they had inflicted as they followed the procession through the city. Crowds lined the streets to watch the procession. As I stared at the mural, I couldn’t help but wonder how such a hollow purpose could draw such a crowd and how anyone would be willing to inflict such suffering upon themselves in the first place. Would a merciful God ask you and I to do something like this?
When it comes to sacrifice, what really is God asking of us?
Here’s a story: Every year in Alaska, a 1000-mile dog sled race, run for prize money and prestige, commemorates an original “race” run to save lives. Back in January of 1926, six-year-old Richard Stanley showed symptoms of diphtheria, signaling the possibility of an outbreak in the small town of Nome. When the boy passed away a day later, Dr. Curtis Welch began immunizing children and adults with an experimental but effective anti-diphtheria serum. But it wasn’t long before Dr. Welch’s supply ran out, and the nearest serum was in Nenana, Alaska--1000 miles of frozen wilderness away. Amazingly, a group of trappers and prospectors volunteered to cover the distance with their dog teams! One sled started out from Nome while another, carrying the serum, started from Nenana. Oblivious to frostbite, fatigue, and exhaustion, the teamsters mushed relentlessly until, after 144 hours in minus 50-degree winds, the serum was delivered to Nome. As a result, only one other life was lost to the potential epidemic. Their sacrifice had given an entire town the gift of life. (Unknown.)
The Bible tells us that God has prepared a feast for us in Heaven, a wedding feast of proportions that we could hardly understand. This is not a banquet of suffering and sorrow; it is a banquet of eternal joy. Jesus does not call us to sacrifice in order that we might join Him in Heaven in some sort of labor camp or gulag. Suffering for the sake of suffering is not God’s plan. The pain and sorrow of suffering always have a dividend. Despite the hardship, there is a gift at the end of the trail. The whips we use to get there ought not to be inflicted on our physical bodies for that would be empty; but on our sinful flesh. Brought into submission through sacrifice and sorrow, a banquet of joy is waiting at the end of the trail!
We pray. Heavenly Father. You tell us that You have prepared a feast for us in Heaven, a wedding feast of proportions that we could hardly understand. This is not a banquet of suffering and sorrow; it is a banquet of eternal joy. We praise You O Lord for Your mercy and grace. We know that You do not call us to sacrifice in order that we might continue to suffer after this worldly suffering. Suffering for the sake of suffering is not Your plan. Forgive us when we forget that pain and the sorrow of suffering always have a dividend. Despite the hardship, there is a gift at the end of the trail. Brought into submission through sacrifice and sorrow, a banquet of joy is waiting at the end of the trail! In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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<firstname.lastname@example.org> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.