The Lord has always asked His people to sacrifice. It’s looked different throughout Judeo-Christian history but the principle has been constant. Regardless of the sacrifice, Israel of old and the Savior’s followers now are asked to give something to the Lord that puts them in a vulnerable position. That’s the nature of sacrifice right? It hurts a little, or sometimes a lot. We give something we want or love or maybe even need. When the Lord asked Israel to offer up the firstlings of her flocks and her beautiful, unblemished rams, she was handing over very useful, perhaps even vital elements of her livelihood in order to be obedient.
In this day, one of the sacrifices that the Lord asks for is a broken heart and a contrite spirit. A lot of times that feels like willingness to me and I find myself struggling to find clarity in what the Lord is asking me to do. In an effort to wade through the overwhelming number of ways to humbly obey and give of myself, I grapple with words like ‘needful’ and ‘expedient’ and ‘requisite.’ I seek to understand whether a situation is calling for specific talents or time or energy that I can lay on the altar. This intricate dance is one that I get wrong often, either withholding too much or diving in with gusto that I actually can’t sustain. It’s in those moments though, where I have the opportunity to see Him, to have Him teach me where I crossed the “needful” line or what about my offering was just below requisite. I think it’s important to be willing to experiment because the process of learning to sacrifice can have sweet blessings.