11.1.12 "Radical Availability"

Today’s scripture reading is:  Romans 12: 1-2  (NIV) 12 Therefore, I urge you,(A) brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,(B) holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform(C) to the pattern of this world,(D) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.(E) Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is(F)—his good, pleasing(G) and perfect will.

The words “living sacrifice” grabbed my attention as I read this today.   What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?  My first thought on the word “sacrifice”, is that I should make a sacrifice for the sake of Jesus, for the Kingdom, or for others.    A sacrifice of myself, my finances, my time, my energy, my gifts, etc.  I’m not supposed to keep these things to myself, but rather, I am to share them so I can be an instrument that God can use in different situations.

Then I’m challenged by the word “living”.  I don’t think “living” just means “alive” or to be a sacrifice that’s alive.  I think “living” means “while I’m living” or “in my living”.

So let’s say I see myself as a sacrifice... and I help people, or I give to charity/church, or I volunteer for the greeters team or worship team on Sunday morning - and I am sacrificing my time,  my money, my giftedness in these ways.   But what about the rest of my time, my money, my giftedness - when I’m not doing church or “religious” things?   Am I truly offering myself as a sacrifice “while I’m living”... in my everyday life?   Not just when it’s in my scheduled routine, but just when I’m walking, talking, working, playing, or having conversations with friends, family, or acquaintances.   I need to get better at that kind of thinking!  I want to be a completely surrendered sacrifice for God to use at any moment of any day... not just when it fits my schedule.

Last Sunday, Pastor talked about us being God’s workmanship  - he said we need to ask... then listen... then let Him tell us what to do.  I need to learn to recognize what He wants from me and I need to respond!  So being a living sacrifice would mean getting up every morning and asking God to use me in any situation that day.  I lay down my life for HIS CALL on my life that day, no matter what situation, or where I’m at, or what time of day it is, or what HE may be interrupting in my schedule - and I act on the opportunities He provides. This would be true worship, like the passage says... to put Him and His agenda for me first every moment of every day.

This all goes against our culture and the “pattern of this world”.   To be radically available to God in a ME centered culture would be transformational.  I would be transformed and likely, so would the people around me.   What if I get a call from someone needing a listening ear during my favorite movie on TV?  What if I need to stay with a friend all night and miss out on sleep?  What if someone needs a ride but I’m overwhelmed with work at the office?   What if I’m in a hurry to get somewhere, but someone needs encouragement and conversation?  What if I have an extra room and someone needs a place to stay?   What if I’m exhausted, but there’s an opportunity to talk with someone about Jesus?   As trivial as some of these excuses seem, they’ve kept me from being available before... how about you?  God is calling me (us) to a radical life of sacrifice.  A counter-cultural way of life.  A way that will transform us into God’s likeness and those around us will be exposed to His light!  I want to be a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God!

Lord, I surrender my agenda to you.  I offer myself, my schedule, my time, my finances, and my home, to you Lord.  Please use me and give me opportunities to be a sacrifice for you, in my coming and my going and in every moment of every day.  I want to be transformed and mature - a powerful instrument for you!    Amen

How did this passage hit you today?