Friday, September 21, 2007

Extreme Sacrifice

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your
bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.
~ Romans 12:1

They huddled inside the room while hearing the screams of fellow Christians being butchered outside. Pastor Hendrick

Pattiwael and his wife were helping to lead the Indonesian

youth camp, and they felt responsible for the young people

in their care.

The camp had been a joyous time of spiritual growth and

worship. Then they were attacked.

When the radical Muslim mob surrounded the building

where they hid, Pastor Pattiwael went outside. Distracting

the bloodthirsty mob’s attention away from his wife and the young

people, the pastor was attacked while the others escaped.

“Jesus, help me.” They were his final words.
His wife next saw him lying in a coffin.

Ugly wounds crisscrossed his torso and arms. In shock and

anger, Mrs. Pattiwael cried out to
“How could you let this happen? Why didn’t you protect my husband?”
But the Holy Spirit reminded her of her husband’s words

only days before the attack. “If you love Jesus, but you love me or

your family more, you are unworthy of Christ’s kingdom.”

He told her that he was ready to die for Christ’s kingdom.
Remembering those words, she refused to become bitter.

She still works with her church in Indonesia. The advice that she

would give Christians in free nations is simply this: “Seek

God more earnestly, so that you can stand in the midst of

more trouble.”

We don’t have to go looking for trouble. It already has our

address. Jesus often reminded his disciples that trials are

part of daily living. Seeking God more earnestly does not

mean seeking more trouble for our lives. No, the

benefit of seeking a deeper relationship with God is to

better prepare us for the inevitable. We don’t have a

choice about what troubles come our way. However, we

can choose to have a relationship with God that

prepares us for trouble. Some trials may mean losing our

lives for Christsake. Yet this is not the real sacrifice. The

extreme sacrifice must come long before. We must

sacrifice selfishness at every level in order to develop

intimacy with God ahead of time. When we have

sacrificed all to pursue a preeminent relationship with

Christ, we will have already done the hardest part.

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