Recently I heard a businessman on a conference call of business people tell about a period of time in his life when he would sleep in his car in order to build his business. He made that sacrifice because he was very committed to what he was doing.
As I listened to him, my heart stirred within me, not about sacrificing to build a business. In that moment, I found myself asking, what sacrifice am I willing to make for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? Would I sleep in a car for a period of time to make progress in getting the Gospel out? I have a very comfortable bed, in a nice bedroom with an ensuite. Would I be willing to do something as simple as leaving that comfortable environment, for even a short time, to serve Christ? It might not be sleeping in a car. It could involve any kind of sacrifice. That was a real life story that God used to challenge my own heart in that moment.
I’m thankful to live in a country where honest businesses can be built. It is always encouraging to hear those kinds of stories from people who have successfully built their business. Done the right way, a good business serves people while making a profit. But, if people are willing to sacrifice to eventually make a temporary monetary profit, why wouldn’t Christ followers be willing to sacrifice to make an eternal difference in the lives of people?
Jesus led the way in sacrificing for His Kingdom! We are very familiar with the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. However, consider the sacrifices before that one. He left Heaven and all it’s glory to come to Earth and be born as a baby. In doing that He willingly “emptied Himself”, temporarily restricted the use of some of His divine attributes and veiled His full glory while here on Earth. While He lived here, as an adult, He said, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20 Jesus was willing to be “homeless” for the sake of the Kingdom! Beyond that, He suffered temptation, weariness, and persecution, all BEFORE He ever went to the cross!
Over the last 2000 plus years, since Jesus ascended back to Heaven, there have been many men and women who have sacrificed and even died for the sake of the Gospel. After Judas Iscariot hanged himself, all but one of the remaining original eleven Apostles, died as martyrs. The Apostle John didn’t die as a martyr, but he surely suffered. He was imprisoned on a narrow, rocky island, the Isle of Patmos, in his 90’s, where he penned the last book of the Bible, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Since then, many more have been imprisoned, beaten, tortured, deprived, separated from families, and killed for the Gospel and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. To this very day, people in many nations are still suffering, not denying their faith in Jesus.
So, when the question of whether I would sleep in my car for a period of time, or any other little “sacrifice”, to see the Kingdom advanced is asked, it seems almost trivial! Jesus put it this way in calling out the crowds that followed Him during His earthly ministry. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38 Essentially, what Jesus was saying there is this… if you are not willing to sacrifice to follow Me, you are not worthy to bear My name! Tough words, but true.
Most of us will never be called on to make the tough sacrifices mentioned in the last paragraphs. But, we are called to be ready to sacrifice in some way for the glorious cause of the Gospel and the Kingdom!! God help us!