OUR SACRIFICES, NOT OUR ACHIEVEMENTS
…now God is building you, as living stones into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.
~ 1 Peter 2:5 (NIV)
Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.”
When I lived in Los Angeles, I was always stressed about one key question—am I fulfilling my potential? Everywhere I drove, I was surrounded by advertisements telling me that I was not earning enough, that I needed to have an “attitude transplant.” I worried about whether I should take more courses in the elusive search for more success. My friends were actors and actresses desperate to attract the attention of some film producer, and working a couple of part-time jobs in the vain hope that someday, they will be discovered. I too always felt unfulfilled.
But is the purpose of my life really to maximize my potential? A visit to the persecuted soon cured me of that idea. This fact becomes clear—fulfilling one’s potential cannot possibly be the purpose to life because so few actually get the opportunity to do so!
Look at the millions of Christians in China’s house churches. All of them live lives in which—for want of a better term—they are trapped. They do not have choices. Because of their Christianity, many are denied access to education, or are barred from developing promising careers. I sat in a house church of seventy peasant Christians, and wondered, how many great scientists, violin players, or philosophers could be in here, but they and the world will never know, because they never had the chance to study, learn algebra, or hold a musical instrument.
Would God really make a world where only a tiny minority could fulfill their life’s purpose, and doom the rest of us to a lifetime of frustration?
We were studying 1st Peter one night, and suddenly I had an insight while reading chapter 2 verse 5. It struck me: God makes each life that is yielded to him a living stone in building his temple. That’s why we are alive. That’s the purpose of it all. We are all made to become a stone in his spiritual temple, his eternal kingdom. And everybody gets the opportunity to become a “living stone” just by virtue of giving our lives to him. We are priests because we offer a sacrifice. That sacrifice is the only one we can make—that of our lives. And so we find the purpose for which God made the world—to build a kingdom of worshippers for Himself. That old man in the house church whose back is bent double from a life in the rice paddies is a living stone. That woman whose baby was taken away during the Cultural Revolution because she was a Christian is also a living stone. No one wastes their life who gives it to Jesus. They are placed into an eternal structure—the kingdom of God, and will rejoice forever in that status.
No one goes unfulfilled because God builds his kingdom on our sacrifices, not on our achievements.
RESPONSE: Today I will be fulfilled as a “living stone” for God and offer Him the sacrifice of my life.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord that I don’t need to spend my life seeking fulfillment other than in You!
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.