Pastor Josh Hilburn continued our conversation about living lives of courageous faith, a people set apart. He invited us to consider our misconceptions about the meaning of "blessing", how we might begin to shift our view of sacrifice instead to investment, and grow into greater peace with the often slow and inefficient movement of transformation in our world and relationships.
“God has, in fact, recently blessed my network with dazzling job promotions, coveted speaking gigs, the most wonderful fiancés ever, and front row seats. There’s nothing quite like invoking holiness as a way to brag about your life. But calling something “blessed” has become the go-to term for those who want to boast about an accomplishment while pretending to be humble, fish for a compliment, acknowledge a success (without sounding too conceited), or purposely elicit envy. Blessed is now used to explain that coveted Ted talk invite as well as to celebrate your grandmother’s 91st birthday. It is carried out in hashtags, acronyms, and even, God forbid, emoji.”
- Jessica Bennett, The New York Times
“Sacrifice” usually leads to a well-hidden sense of entitlement and perpetuates the vicious circle of merit, a mind-set that leads most of us to assume that we are more deserving than others because of what we have given or done. As the old saying goes, all expectations and self-sacrifice are just resentments waiting to happen. Jesus came to end all false sacrificial notions, I believe, and he did it once and for all….When you sacrifice, you always “deserve.”
Sacrifice, much more than we care to admit, creates entitlement, a “you-owe-me” attitude, and a well-hidden sense of superiority. Jesus brilliantly said, “Go, learn the meaning of the words, “What I want is mercy and not sacrifice”
In what ways have you viewed your faith as transactional? What are the "sacrifices" in your life from which you have you expected a return?
What is a specific relationship in which God is calling you to invest, and how might you begin to engage this week, knowing that development may be slow?
Your Love Is Strong
Let This Heart Not Wander
How Great Thou Art
In Feast Or Fallow
Psalm 34 (Taste & See)
Rock Of Ages (When The Day Seems Long)