There was a Pig and there was a Chicken sat together in a field, when a bus drove past with a poster emblazoned on the side of the bus saying “Eggs and Bacon, the great British Breakfast”.
The Chicken said to the Pig “doesn’t that make you feel proud?”
To which the Pig replied “For you this just requires a contribution but for me it costs me everything”.
There is a real difference between making a contribution or an offering, than making a sacrifice.
An offering or a contribution rarely causes us pain, where as a sacrifice is painful.
In the story often called the widows mite, we see one poor widow give two coper coins, all she had to live on, a real acute sacrifice, giving what she couldn’t afford, where the rich people may have given more but there was no element of sacrifice, because they gave out of their abundance of what they could afford.
The more I have gone on as a Christian the more I have discovered that when the call comes to make sacrifices that is where God reveals what is in our hearts and how our hearts look towards him.
I was reading recently the latest book by Phil Potter (Archbishops advisor on Mission and Fresh Expressions) who spoke of the former working title for the Mission Shaped Church report was called “dying to live”. That idea that in order to live we must die to ourselves, die to our personal preferences, die to consumerist church is the only way the Church can live. Jesus said “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds”. Later in his book Potter says“A Church that refuses to sacrifice will die” and uses the illustration of a marriage where if there is no sacrifice within the relationship the marriage it will flounder and die.
Sacrifice is at the heart of who Jesus was as he left the glory of heaven to come to earth, suffer and die for us.
Yet too often we want to just give a contribution.
Was at a meeting today and there is a mission planned across the city over Easter, and one of the questions was ‘will we be able to get Christians out on bank holiday’, which made me wonder what kind of discipleship are we conducting if we can only get Christians to do something as long as it isn’t costly. It is why I love the Street Pastors vision so much, it is a “deep calls out to deep” type call, it is costly and sacrificial, but actually that is what it means to follow Jesus. We have to follow on his terms and not our own… The Rich Young Ruler who was told to go and sell his wealth before following Jesus, wasn’t able to dictate with Christ what following Jesus would look like, he walked away sad and Jesus didn’t run after him, but let him go, but with tears in his eyes. Jesus said “if anyone wants to follow me they must forget self, pick up their cross and follow me”.
Following Jesus is both a free gift, but also something that will cost us everything.
Let’s be ‘Pig’ Christians who sacrifice it all for the sake of Christ, rather than ‘Chicken Christians’ who just make a contribution.
I’ll close with a quote from Martyred Missionary Jim Elliott who said “He is no fool, who gives up what he cannot keep (our lives), to gain what he cannot lose (eternity with Christ)”.