Friday, July 7

Hebrews 13:1-16 (ESV)

Sacrifices Pleasing to God

13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent[a] have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.


Reflection

What is a sacrifice? Wikipedia defines sacrifice as“the offering

of food, objects or the lives of animals to a higher purpose, in

particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship.”

Merriam-Webster says it is“something given up or lost”. And

when asked about sacrifice Mother Teresa said, “A sacrifice to

be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves.”

People talk all the time about the sacrifices they make. Usually

it is meant to be for the good of someone else, but more times

than not it comes off as sounding like “you better be grateful for

what I sacrificed for you.” If you have to brag about and seek

recognition for the sacrifices you “willingly” gave, are you

really doing it for the right reasons? Hebrews 13:15 tells us to

“continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.”

Are we remembering to praise God for the ability to make the

sacrifices that we do? Are we offering ourselves freely without

the expectation of lauds of praise and accolades of adoration

from those around us? That’s not to say that we should stop

doing selfless acts for others. In fact, Hebrews 13:16 tells us,

“Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such

sacrifices God is pleased.”

I think a sacrifice is something you give up freely for someone

else without any expectations of praise or thanks. It’s exactly the

kind of thing God did when he sacrificed his only Son, Jesus, for

our sins, so that we could have life.


Prayer

Dear Lord, thank you for the ultimate sacrifice of your Son for

our sins. Let our sacrifices be as selfless and pure of heart as

yours. Amen.

 

Written by Terri Harms

Preschool Director of Daily Operations

tharms@stjohns-springfield.org