"Look at how great a love the Father has given us, that we should be called God's children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn't know Him."
-1 John 3:1
Our school's football team began a voluntary conditioning program three weeks before the official start of the season. The program ran four days a week and saw nearly every returning player and many trying out for the first time attend every session--not because they were told they had to, but because they wanted to be there.
While the participation was very encouraging, the weather for the time was unusually hot for our area, and it changed very little when the actual try-outs began two weeks before school started. Many of our players returned in excellent condition, while some did not. The drills were grueling, and they caused our conditioned and unconditioned players both to be pushed to limits they didn't know they could reach. Some never stopped, but a few couldn't complete the drills. Some were in tears, and some were purging themselves of their latest meal.
Why would they put themselves through this? What would make a reasonable person endure so much just for the pleasure of playing a game? These young men could be at the beach or at the sound fishing. They could be in the air conditioning watching their favorite program or playing video games in the comfort of their homes. But no, they were on their field hoping to reach their goal of making the team. There was a prize worthy of the sacrifice.
Wow! The prize of making the team is worthy of personal sacrifice? I think many would argue the point as being unreasonable, and that given sincere consideration, reason would prevail. But check out the verse above. A high level of commitment isn't new. It is demonstrated every day by our heavenly Father. And I am so glad that He has an unreasonable commitment and love for you and me. Think about it, what kind of love sends a Son to the cross for the benefit of sinful people--for a people who have sinned, are sinning and will sin again? What kind of love is this?
"Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
Someone of this world would surely see that as unreasonable (unbelievable) when you simply weigh the pros and cons of such a sacrifice. In Proverbs 3:5, the Bible tells us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." My understanding often tells me to avoid the difficult, the risky and the unsafe; to run from that which is uncomfortable and out of my immediate control; and to disbelieve that which is unbelievable. Could it be then that faith is the unreasonable pursuit of something so great, and that it is worth the sacrifice? Could it be that the difference between good and great is largely the distinction between the calculating reason of man and the unreasonable faith and commitment to something, or someone, greater than you? God does not ask that you sacrifice anything, but only that you believe in Him and believe that He sent His Son to die on the cross for you so that you could be forgiven and share in the prize that is everlasting life.
1. What motivates you to personal sacrifice?
2. Are you committed to your sport, mentally and physically?
3. Are you committed spiritually?
4. Does your commitment make you stand out from the crowd?