ODJ: sacrifices—good and bad

January 21, 2014 

READ: John 18:1-11 

Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me? (v.11).

Jess likes money. In her brief 4½ years on the planet, she has already learned that she can play her aunts and uncles for spare change. Cuteness and intelligence comprise a formidably lucrative combination. Her parents, quite naturally, are concerned over this. “Don’t ask for money,” they tell her. “You should earn it by doing chores.”

One day Jess discovered that a friend had received money from the ‘tooth fairy’. Jess headed straight to her dad’s toolbox and returned with a pair of pliers. Pointing to a tooth, she said, “This one’s loose”.

It was not. But the family got some great photos of Dad faking that he was ‘pulling’ the tooth from Jess’ mouth. No doubt she would have quickly reconsidered her business transaction if she realised just how much pain that money would have cost. Some bargains just aren’t worth it.

How prone we are to seek an unwise route to an otherwise worthy goal! Adam and Eve coveted a knowledge whose nature they didn’t comprehend. Their shortsightedness resulted in the cursing of all creation (Genesis 3).

The trend has continued throughout history. Peter chose a violent response to the problem of Christ’s arrest in the garden (John 18:10). Had he been successful in his ‘defence’ of Jesus, no sacrifice for sin would have been made. Jesus (once again) rebuked Peter, saying, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?” (v.11).

Peter saw a problem and thought he knew the solution. He didn’t. His willingness to fight for Jesus was admirable, but highly misguided. He would have exchanged the life of Jesus in opposition to God’s perfect plan to rescue His fallen creation.

Not all commitment is prudent. Not all sacrifices are wise. —Tim Gustafson
› Genesis 37:1-36

Genesis 16:1-15 gives a fascinating account of Abraham’s attempt to help God fulfil His promise to him. What was the result?  
What long-term benefits are you potentially sacrificing by shortsighted decisions? What good commitments have you made recently? Why were they good?