Gracefully Truthful

Sacrifice,Struggle,Treasure,Worship

Read His Words Before Ours!

Genesis 22:1-19
Matthew 6:19-21
James 5:10-11

“Is it worth it to surrender our treasure to Jesus?” 
I wonder if every person wrestles with this question as they consider the cost of following Christ. 

For me, this question initiates others: 
“How many times will I need to surrender?”
“How many treasures do I have?” 
“What is my treasure?”

Surrender brought to mind the story of the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22:1-19. An elderly man, Abraham had finally received the fulfillment of God’s promise to give Abraham offspring more numerous than the stars in the sky. (Genesis 15:1-6) Yet a few years later, God directed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham’s miraculous, long-awaited, treasured son. I remember reading this story for the first time and thinking, “No way could I do that!”

This story brings us right up close to surrender. As I’ve discussed this story in various Bible studies over the years, I am repeatedly amazed at Abraham and Isaacs’s obedience and willingness to surrender. Both were obedience; one in bringing the sacrifice and the other to lying down on the altar as the sacrifice. What a beautiful foreshadowing of the obedience of Christ to His Father (John 6:38-40), as He sacrificed His own life to free us from bondage to sin and death (John 3:16-17); the whole Bible is part of the gospel story of Jesus! 

While we are inspired by Abraham and Isaac’s obedient surrender, let’s also remember they were humans, just like you and me! Sometimes, we tend to put Bible characters in a different league, like they were super humans. Yet the truth is, they were broken people, lovingly guided and rescued by God. With the benefit of the Bible and the Holy Spirit indwelling, leading, and transforming us, we can choose surrender, just as Abraham and Isaac did so long ago. (John 14:15-17)

Surrender is hard for all of us, and sometimes it becomes more challenging as we lose sight of the why behind our surrender.     

Matthew 6:19-21 reminds us our surrendered treasures are safe when we lay them up “[I]n heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.” (verse 19) Sure, during our earthly lives, we have treasures, all the things God has asked us to steward. Yet we are to hold them with open hands, trusting God can supply our needs rather than the many things in which we find enjoyment.

How are we able to give generously out of our poverty? Luke 21:1-4 encourages us with the faith of a penniless widow who gave her last two coins to God. Such generosity in surrender of our earthly treasure requires a belief that all we have belongs to God. He is our why for He will sustain us in plenty or in want. The widow knew the joy of a husband and the devastation of loss. She learned to trust and give generously, believing Jesus was the truest treasure, One who satisfies through every circumstance.

Luke 7:36-50 tells how one woman emptied her hands of material goods so she could cling to the feet of Christ, wiping them with her hair and washing them with her tears. She discovered that surrender of treasure led her to deep worship. When can we be women who abandon all pride (and conversely, shame) to worship Him like this? At times, we are very aware of the Holy Spirit’s nearness and we gladly choose this kind of worship, yet on most days, we fall short of deep worship cultivated by surrender. When will we really worship freely? When we see Jesus face-to-face! Until then we gain glimpses of Him, moments to treasure, and opportunities to worship with abandon.

Wise women ask, what are my treasures, and what importance do I attach to them? God says in His Word I am more important than treasures, so in turn, I desire for God to be more important than my treasures. Matthew 6:25-34 sharpens this perspective, making it practical for everyday living. (Have you read it?!) In truth, sometimes I value my treasures above God. Do time, money, or selfish pursuits run you ragged? This is a sign something needs surrendering.  

Deep thought moment: If Christ is the only One who ever surrendered perfectly and remained perfectly steadfast (James 5:11), and He invites me to follow His example, to remain in His steadfastness until I see him face-to-face . . . is accepting such an invitation to surrender worth the cost? 

God asks for my heart.
My heart where all the things I treasure are kept!  

If God holds my heart, the keeping place of all my treasures…
…then I am free to enjoy Him!
…then I am able to surrender each time I hold a treasure too tightly and it breaks.
…then I am able to surrender generously, understanding this world will never supply, sustain, or satisfy me.
…then I am able to surrender when someone else holds me too tightly and I break from the pain.

Sisters, Christ has my heart! In His graciousness, He showed me I was trying to hoard my treasures and supply, sustain, and satisfy myself. He lovingly reminded me of His work at the cross and the perfect sacrifice of Himself on my behalf. (Hebrews 10:11-18) I did not need to sacrifice myself on any altar, or build any altars to put my treasures on…for He is my truest treasure and perfect sacrifice.

Oh how tender and compassionate He is with my heart! Dear sisters, does He have access to yours? Today, I invite each of us to spill our treasures at His feet, surrendering to the One who loves us, sustains us, provides for us, and rescues us!

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