“We must give our lives for other believers.” (1 John 3:16 GW)
In calling us to sacrificial service, God doesn’t ask us to do any more than Jesus, who came “as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God … if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other” (1 John 4:10-12 MSG).
Yet, as Rick Warren regularly teaches, any believer familiar with John 3:16, “For God so loved the world …” (NIV), must also become familiar with 1 John 3:16: “This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves” (MSG).
The point is service cannot be separated from sacrifice.
And so the life of a maturing Christian must shift from little or no sacrifice to a willingness to sacrifice any and all that may be required to help others grow into spiritual maturity.
The poet-king David understood this, and so he wouldn’t offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing: “But the king replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them” (2 Samuel 24:24 NIV).
The cost of sacrificial service runs past mere notions of money. It may mean giving up dreams, expectations, reputations, retirements, whatever God asks in order to lovingly enrich the lives of others.
We benefit today because saints before saw that service includes sacrifice. It is now our time to do the same for others, living like the poetic King David, who served his generation before he died (Acts 13:36).