Vandalia United Methodist Church

From the Pastor's Study

Sacrifice. During Lent we think of it in terms of giving up chocolate or soda. Maybe it’s adding five minutes of Bible reading or a devotion each morning. The topic of sacrifice enters our minds when we contemplate our annual pledge commitment to the church. Just how much we can “afford” to give the church in the next year and still make ends meet. Sacrifice might be part of our new year’s resolutions. We think about eating fewer calories or smoking less. It’s part of the extra pain in exercising more or giving up a bad habit.

Interesting, isn’t it that sacrifice should be part of our faith – that a God of love and compassion should expect sacrifice from his followers? According to Scripture, from the very beginning, we were expected to incorporate sacrificial living into our relationship with God. The sin of Adam and Eve was to be like God, knowing good and evil. Rather than trusting in God to provide for all their needs, they thought they needed control over their lives. Born to sacrifice self-will, they were unable to allow God to be the guiding force in their lives. Of course, “Adam and Eve” are representative of human nature. We are unable to trust God for the direction and provision of our lives. We are unable to sacrifice self-will and simply trust God.

The second creation story continues to tell us that there is a consequence when we choose to live according to our own will rather than God’s will. The consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin was death. The consequence of our sin is death. God is the one who creates us and provides life. If we separate ourselves from him by sinning, then we are cutting ourselves off from life in this world and everlasting life in God’s kingdom.

However, God is a god of love and compassion. He understands our helpless plight. Therefore, he is the one who made the sacrifice, paid the price for our sin, and restores us to life in this world and the next. God sent his Son to die upon the cross for our transgressions; freeing us from the penalty of sin. Because Jesus died; if you put your trust in him, you will have everlasting life with him in heaven.

You don’t truly live until you live with God in control of your life. Knowing that he is in control and has conquered our worst enemy, death, we are freed to live life as he has intended it to be. It is God’s intention that our lives are filled with love, trust, hope, and joy in believing, knowing that God will provide for every need.

In giving his life for us, we are called to live our lives following his example. Sacrificial living means putting God’s will ahead of our own. It means we consider the needs of other people before we speak or act. It means we love people who don’t seemingly deserve it, and it means loving our enemies. It means that when you give and it hurts, then you will be blessed, and God’s kingdom will be blessed.

As we enter a new year, it a good time to refocus our priorities and incorporate sacrificial living into the way we live our lives. Put God in control, and everything else will fall into place.

In Christ’s love,
Terry

 



9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School





First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684