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“But I’ve Given So Much!”

by SHAWNA J. SACRIFICE Burn out Serving joyfully
“But I’ve Given So Much!”
“And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value.”
1 Corinthians 13:3

As overseas workers, we’ve all felt the sting of missed birthdays, weddings, and funerals. We feel the daily challenge of sacrificing our little comforts to live where we do. We’ve laid dreams, plans, resources, relationships, and more on the altar in obedience to God. 

I’ve recognized that often I can fluctuate between wearing these sacrifices as a badge of honor, and trying to use them as a gambling chip with God. There are times when I carry an attitude of “I’ve sacrificed all I have, I’ve done what I can for God so now I know He’s pleased.” This leads me into the danger of thinking I have nothing left to offer and I start to spiritually coast. Other times, when I feel the pain of disappointment, my heart cries, “But God, I’ve given You so much! Why aren’t you doing Your part?” The offense and resentment I hold against God makes me shut down and hold tight to what I have.

These wrong attitudes in regard to sacrifice come from a skewed perception of God. We can never sacrifice enough to please God or to make Him owe us something. He gave us all He had to give and He is worthy to receive back everything we have. Even if we’ve moved across the world, left behind loved ones, gave up the dream job, gave away all we have to the poor, there’s still more that is due Him. 

However, the good news is, God doesn’t define us by our level sacrifice, so we shouldn’t either. Read that again. God is looking for our love above all. If we are continually fueled and motivated by love, our sacrifice will flow without burning out. We will be able to commemorate and mourn our sacrifices while still yearning to lay down more for Christ and for the lost. 

The test of our commitment to God shouldn’t be how much we’ve sacrificed, but instead why we’ve sacrificed. Was it for love? And if it was, have we lost sight of that love? 

Closing Prayer
Lord, thank you for all that You’ve given for me. My heart’s response is a desire to give back to You. Help me to keep my heart pure and positioned in love as I lay my life down for you. Forgive me for the times that I forgot why I’m sacrificing and lead me back into intimacy with You. Amen.
Book: Sojourner’s Workbook: A Guide to Thriving Cross-Culturally by Connie Befus PH.D In chapters 3-4 of this workbook, the author guides you through recognizing, grieving, and having a healthy mindset in regards to the things you have laid down to be on the field.
Song: Lay It All Down by Lindy Conant & The Circuit Riders This song is a great declaration of surrender for LOVE.
Song: Only Jesus by Housefires Another beautiful song of surrender to Jesus.
Question for Reflection

What are some wrong motivations that we can have for sacrificing to God?

Shawna J.
June 07, 2024

We can be motivated by wanting recognition from others or by wanting God to do something for us.