Luke 5:27-31, Luke 5:1-11
Jim Lowe shares lessons he's learned.
'Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.' (Luke 5:27-28)
On the 1st March, many people set themselves different challenges to give up something for Lent. It may have been coffee, Facebook, chocolate or negativity; the list could go on. Some people instead have decided that this Lent they will de-clutter their house and give things to charity; others have decided that instead of giving something up, they want to do something positive. So they may be doing 40 days of kindness.
If you are giving up, or doing something for Lent, how's it going? Are you still sticking to it now that we are a few weeks in?
When I was younger, I always gave up chocolate for Lent. The reason I did this wasn't so much to help me grow a relationship with God, but because it was something relativity easy to give up. You'll be pleased to know I've changed a lot since then.
Since the beginning of Lent, I've been thinking about what it means to sacrifice, or to give something up for God. In the Bible there are different reasons why people make sacrifices. Two of these reasons are to either give God their best, or to show how important He was to them.
If you read Luke 5:1-11 and 27-31, we see Jesus calling some of His disciples. It's incredible to think that these men gave up everything in an instant. They sacrificed family commitments, work, friends and possibly even their reputation, (imagine what people would think if you stopped everything to follow a man).
This was a huge sacrifice that they made, but they must have sensed that they were making a sacrifice for a bigger cause. Some of them even made the greatest sacrifice of all, dying for God's cause.
This raised an important question for me: would I be able to do such a thing?
When thinking about this question, I was reminded about a time when I made a personal sacrifice for God, but things weren't quite working out how I wanted them to go. I got a little bit upset with God. I think my words were, "God, do you know what I sacrificed?"
This is a silly question to ask God, because he knows everything, but at that moment, it hit me. God gave up everything for me on the cross. He came to earth to die in my place and here I was feeling sorry for myself.
When that realisation hit me, it was faith changing. The sacrifices that I make for God suddenly seem small and the sacrifices and patience He shows me seem huge.
Whether or not I make any sacrifices for God, He still loves me.
This for me is so liberating. I'm now willing to make more sacrifices for God, not because I feel like I have to, but because I want to. Now it's more than just giving up chocolate for 40 days.
It's not always easy to make sacrifices, like it wasn't easy for the disciples. There were dark days and hard days for them, but I know God rewarded them for their faithfulness and He still honours our sacrifices today.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.