ODJ: Sacrificing for the Community

May 29, 2018 

READ: Ruth 1:1-16 

Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God (v.16).

More than a dozen families had committed to share life together in a local community. They were so devoted to one another that they bought houses in the same neighbourhood. Eventually, one of the men in this group received an excellent job offer in a large city hundreds of miles away. He didn’t, however, immediately take the new position. Instead, he went to his community to seek their wisdom, advice and prayer about the move. Within a matter of days, all of them sensed he should take the job. But, to his delight, the consensus was that if he moved, five to six of the families would also move with him.

Isn’t that amazing? A commitment to strong Christian community included a willingness to take significant risks in order for the community as a whole to flourish.

This community’s devotion to sharing life with one another reminds me of Ruth’s devotion to her mother-in-law Naomi. After Naomi’s husband and both of her sons died (Ruth 1:3-5), Naomi chose to leave Moab to head back to her ancestral home in Judah (vv.6-7). She urged her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, to return to their own families because she had nothing more to offer them (vv.8-9). But Ruth refused, choosing instead to leave all that was familiar to remain with Naomi.

In John 15:13, Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” While Jesus certainly meant a willingness to lay down one’s physical life, those words point to more than physical death. We can also show Christ-like love through a heart of total commitment to others, a willingness to lay down our own agendas to love and serve. How might God be leading you to serve those in your community this week?

—Marlena Graves

365-day plan: Daniel 2:1-24

Read 2 Cor. 11:16-33. What did Paul sacrifice for the gospel and for the communities of faith he served? 
How have believers in Jesus sacrificed for you? How have you sacrificed your life for others in the Christian community? How does sacrifice reflect Jesus’ love?