by Dr. David W. Manner
In his search for the roots of violence, Mahatma Gandhi drafted a list to give to his grandson titled the “Seven Blunders of the World.” Number seven wasWorship without Sacrifice.
Paul focused on the divisions that segregate us. In the twelfth chapter of Romans he wrote, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship.”
Paul used this image of the body to represent the whole person, including ideologies and preferences. Living sacrifice signifies an ongoing, constant, all-inclusive submission. To sacrifice is to surrender for the sake of something or someone else. It is the act of giving up, offering up or letting go. The antonym of sacrifice is to hold on to.
A bunt in baseball is designated as a sacrifice for the purpose of advancing another runner. Executing this sacrifice is called laying down a bunt. What a challenging word picture for the church as it gathers together in communal worship.
- Lay down their preferences because they love those with whom they worship more than they love those preferences.
- Acknowledge that worship did not begin and will not end with the worship preferences of their generation.
- Admit it is arrogant to assume their favorite worship and God’s favorite worship are the same.
Charles Thomas Studd, an English missionary who served in China, India, and Africa had this statement as his motto: “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.”