Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-which is your spiritual worship.”
I can’t get it out of my mind! A couple of weeks ago while vacationing at Camp-of-the-Woods we heard Erwin Lutzer, the pastor emeritus of Moody Church in Chicago, Illinois, speak. During his sermon He mentioned that every day he prays, “God, glorify Yourself at my expense.” Since then I have continually thought about the meaning of those words.
Nineteen years ago Dad and I were on our way home from the Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus. Nathan had just made his appearance into the world and Dad decided to stop and get something to eat before arriving home and jumping into family life with a new baby.
We both ordered a Perkins pancake breakfast while Nathan slept soundly in his car seat. When the waitress came with the check she informed us that the meal was free. A complete stranger recognized the joy and exhaustion of having a new baby and blessed us by paying for the meal. The meal was free to us at someone else’s expense.
This sweet memory came to me as I wondered how I could glorify God at my own expense. What does that look like? God asks us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, which are holy and pleasing to Him. This may be in the form of sharing our resources with others, but it could mean other things too.
There may be times when I need to give up my comfort, my time, my personal desires, to help someone else. I may need to love someone tangibly who is not lovable. God could ask me to move from my dream home, or to change my job. Doing these things with a joyful heart would glorify Him with some cost to me.
It might also involve trusting him if illness puts me in a place of confinement, or waiting patiently when life is not making sense. Perhaps it will include recognizing that His ways are not my ways and submitting to His will instead of forcing my own. All of these things would bring God glory, though they might cost me my comfort.
Am I willing to do this? This would not be anyone’s natural choice, but as a believer we know what God gave up for us. He did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. He allowed Him to suffer and die for our sins so that we could receive new life at His expense. So isn’t it only reasonable that we should be willing and desire to give Him glory at our own expense?
The Perkins customer went home all those years ago with less change in his pocket, and the Sheridan family was blessed by his gift. There was no reason for him to share other than a random act of kindness. How much more should we be willing to offer our lives as a living sacrifice to a God who gave everything for us?
May we each pray every day with Erwin Lutzer, “God, glorify Yourself at my expense.”