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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Called to a life of sacrifice

It is an abiding principle of the kingdom of God that all spiritual ministries are based upon and associated with a life of sacrifice. Not even Christ was an exception to this divine principle. Indeed, He lived the life of the supreme sacrifice. Of Him we read that He laid aside the riches of eternity and became poor that He might enrich others (2 Co 8:9).

He divested Himself of the divine glory which was His inheritance from eternity (Jn 17:5, 24).

He emptied Himself of the form of God, which was His eternal abode of equality with the Father (Phil 2:5–8).

He sacrificed His human rights and honor when he stood before Caiaphas and in Pilate’s hall and was spit upon and mocked and scoffed (Mt 26:67–68; 27:27–31; Mk 14:65; 15:16–20; Lk 22:63–65; Jn 18:22; 19:1–3).

He gave His life as a sacrifice for the sin of the world on Calvary’s cross, the symbol of shame and crime. No one could take His life from Him; He gave it voluntarily (Jn 10:17–18).

Thus the principle of sacrifice pervades the life and ministry of Christ the Lord.

As the Master, so the servant is called to a life of sacrifices. This is clearly indicated in the words of the Master: “And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Lk 9:57–58).

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple … whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26–27, 33).

These statements arte well borne out by the testimony of the apostle Paul when he said, “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all” (Phil 2:17).

“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Phil 4:11–12).

The call of God is a challenge to a life of sacrifice. Loneliness, privations, and hardships that will deplete the physical strength and imperil bodily health are included in the call of God. Comforts and conveniences, homes and relationships must become secondary for the called of God. The Lord may require the sacrifice of health and life. Such is the challenge of the call of God.

George W. Peters, A Biblical Theology of Missions (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1972), 286–287.

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