After considering the incredible sacrifices of the Christians in North Korea and other hostile nations around the world. It’s hard to imagine how the everyday Christan walk of someone like me, a safe secure American, could even matter or have significance. It has been easy to get lost in the enormity of the calling put on these Christians under active persecution. I mentioned this to a friend today and she pointed out that a big and unmistakable sacrifice like martyrdom or torture, doesn’t invalidate the small and invisible sacrifice.
God’s scale of values isn’t like ours. He doesn’t look at His plan for one persons life as more or less important than anothers. I believe I can safely come to this conclusion after studying Hebrews 11 in Bible class this last year.
In Hebrews 11:17 it says ” By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Issac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;”
Then in Hebrews 11:20 ” By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.”
Both of these men made God’s hall of fame, they were both considered “men of whom the world was not worthy” They had both become winner believers and it was said of them both Hebrews 11:39a “And all these, having gained approval through their faith…” Abraham and Issac being at the beginning of an incredible list of Old Testament Heroes.
Abraham was called to offer up his son, fully expecting to have to kill him. It was a true action of faith, a seemingly horrible request from God despite believing that God would bring Issac back from the dead. We would all acknowledge that this was definitely an unmistakable sacrifice.
But Isaac was given the same regard by God for simply blessing his sons, Jacob and Esau. Granted, it isn’t easy to stick with God’s choice when you’ve been deceived and you don’t particularly like the son God has chosen… Still, to the human mind, God’s plan for Isaac was much easier than for Abraham. Why should Isaac get to be in the same category as Abraham?
The answer to that question brings out how incredible God is, how just and righteous and perfect in all His ways. He only asks us to live in His plan for our lives. He only asks us to endure what He brings to us as trials and testings, some great and some small. It’s not the enormity of the calling that matters, only fulfilling His plan. If He calls upon you to endure a martyrs death then that is His plan for your life and you glorify Him to the maximum but if He calls upon you to live safely till a ripe old age daily living in His plan then you also glorify Him to the maximum. It’s His plan so whatever He calls you to do brings maximum glory to Him.
He isn’t waiting for me to impress Him with the worst sacrifice I can imagine or great works that humans regard as lofty. He wants to impress me with His plan, then give me the opportunity to live in it. Which honestly I find thrilling to think about; Love, sorrow, friendship, pain, excitement, joy, difficulty, exhaustion, monotony, adventure, grief, success, and everything in between all prepared in a unique plan just for me to have the opportunity to reveal, on a stage like no other, the character and nature of this incredible loving God, who chose to be known(uniquely) through a relationship with me. Jesus Christ, God the Son, made this possible through His fulfillment of God the Father’s Plan for Him, the Cross, where His spiritual death in our place for all sin made the relationship that God desired with us possible. He then left for us, His word(the Bible) which is the revelation of who He is and as we learn it and think it and live in it through the indwelling and filling of God the Holy Spirit, the revelation of who and what God is, is now expressed in a completely fantastic way. Through us!
You can work your tail off trying to impress God but if you do it outside of His plan there is no reward. He only rewards His own work in you. Your work is really not important to God. It’s the work He has planned for you that matters, be it great or small, unmistakable or utterly invisible.