Friday, January 1, 2010

I Just Couldn't Eat Pepper or Could I?

Somewhere on my bookshelves I have the complete works of Josephus (or something of that nature) and somewhere in the confines of his historical accounts is a portion about, cannibalism that occurred when the Temple was under siege.

Some years prior to that event, Jesus prophetically made mention that the mothers of Jerusalem would eat their young. Of course that didn’t sit well with anyone, but then again, cannibalism never does.

Yet, just like clock work, it occurred. How that relates to these thoughts is this.

Jesus tells us often that challenging things will occur, on the continuum of God’s plan for humanity. And some of the things that He taught and prophesied were very hard to swallow (no pun intended).

So what if I was told that things could get so bad that I would end up eating my dog Pepper? Maybe you’ve never met her, but she’s a very good and loving dog. Innocent of human blood, never bit anyone (seriously) and might lick you to death, but that’s about the worst thing she would do.

But could I bring myself to eat her if I had to? Somewhere between the confines of civil and humane thought and desperation or death, people do all sorts of things that they might not otherwise consider doing.

As I leaned down on the stairs the other day, to greet her and tell her what a good dog she was, I had a strange sense that when sacrifice occurs, it does so base on one of two things.

1) Sacrifice occurs out of necessity
2) Sacrifice occurs out of devotion

When sacrifice occurs out of necessity, few of us would disagree, although we may detest the act, we can understand the rationale. And most of us would do the same thing when put in the same situation.

But when sacrifice occurs out of devotion, that’s a whole different ball game and few are able to deliver (let alone understand). Not because they don’t believe, but more often because devotion is way deeper than head knowledge. Devotion tends to be based in love and covenant.

When God told Abraham to take Isaac up to the mountain and sacrifice him, the Bible tells us Abraham went without hesitation. How many of us have that level of love and devotion for God? Let alone a holy fear that propels us beyond our comfort zone? I know I struggle with that level.

So what does this have to do with me eating my dog? Plenty, because if I was starving and my family needed food to survive, I would not hesitate to engage in the process. But on the other hand, if her demise and consumption were a matter of testing my devotion to God, I probably would fall way short of that kind of devotion.

But what about God? His sacrifice was of necessity, but not for Himself, but all for us. His sacrifice was founded in His devotion to us, and His Son was the only means by which He could prove and provide a level of devotion that few of us could imagine.

Let that sink in. Because the next time you think God is asking you to do something great, ask yourself if your response is necessity based (subjective) or devotion based (objective). The latter is the greatest challenge of all and the greater gift.

Don’t worry; I’m not eating Pepper anytime soon. But one never knows how God would test our devotion. Does He do that? Maybe your dog, but not mine, right?

Just more compelling thoughts to clog the internet!

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