Obedience 1, Sacrifice 0
We left yesterday with the story of the rich people and the poor widow giving offerings in the temple. The rich gave what they were supposed to give and the widow gave everything she had. So between the rich and the widow, especially in light of their financial status, who obeyed and who sacrificed?
On the surface, it seems the widow sacrificed because she gave her all and the rich merely obeyed because they just tithed. But here’s the problem: if obedience is better than sacrifice then Jesus should have praised the rich for obeying instead of the widow for sacrificing. It seems Jesus’ words and Old Testament scripture just don’t jive.
But if we are commanded to do anything isn’t it to tithe? So didn’t the rich obey the tithe? That really didn’t help — I still didn’t get it.
So instead I considered the widow. It seemed to me the widow sacrificed by giving all she had. And there it was — my answer. I had been looking at sacrifice and obedience in completely the opposite ways.
How? We actually touched on it yesterday – we are commanded to sacrifice. Not only sacrifice our treasure but also our lives, our families, our identities, our dreams, and our desires. Everything we were, we are, and ever will be is to be laid upon the cross and crucified daily for Christ and the advancement of his kingdom. Our command is not mere sacrifice. It’s total sacrifice.
It’s possible to sacrifice part of ourselves and still not totally surrender to God. But it is impossible to obey without total sacrifice of everything we are to him. This means obedience is above and beyond sacrifice alone. It is such a step up that sacrifice even begins to change its meaning. It changes from something we don’t want to lose to something we happily give back to God because everything we have was God’s and is God’s.
So the rich gave only part of who they were. They sacrificed only a portion of themselves to God and kept the rest. But the widow gave everything. Her obedience placed all she had and all she was on the cross to be crucified with Christ. She left nothing for herself and trusted completely in God.
Jesus called it right. The rich only sacrificed. But the widow obeyed. Jesus saw how the obedience of the widow could be infinitely more useful than the sacrifice of the rich. So truly, it is better to obey than to sacrifice.
What does this mean for us today? Tune in tomorrow and we’ll find out.
Live The Mission,