“I will not take for the LORD what is yours,
or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing" - 1 Chron. 21:24b
When my daughter Jade was a little girl, she viewed any kind of poultry or meat with great skepticism.
“Is the chicken dead?” she would ask as I served a dish of chicken and rice for lunch or dinner.
“This is a trick question,” I thought. If I answered yes she wouldn’t eat it and if I answered no she still wouldn’t eat it.
But it got me thinking of an issue we had on our island some time ago where a poultry farmer was accused of selling dead chickens. This sounds a bit oxymoronic but it’s not hard to understand what that meant. Following a persistent heat wave, the farmer was apparently losing thousands of birds and in an attempt to stave off catastrophic losses, birds were being slaughtered as soon as they died.
Of course, if true, it would be a huge issue for health authorities. There is a kosher way to slaughter animals and not following certain practices exposed consumers to harmful bacteria.
What if believers were doing the same thing?
You must have heard it a thousand times that we should present our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). How does that work? Are we walking dead? The word of God is rife with conundrums like this. Die to live; lose your life to find it. To say that we must be living sacrifices suggest that there could also be a category called a dead sacrifice. Paul makes it clear that for the sacrifice to be acceptable it must be living.
David was adamant that what he gave to God must cost him something.
Jesus is the perfect example of a living sacrifice. He stormed a way through the corridors of hell, conquered death and rose again victorious from death to life. He said because he lives we shall live also. He provides the only kosher way to eternal life. Any another way if filled with harmful bacteria of sin that cannot be rid by any other religion, dogma or ideology. Jesus is the only one that can make us acceptable to be received into the presence of a holy God.
So the question of the chicken is valid my innocent little one. There are two types of death. Death that leads to death and death that leads to life. I want the kosher kind of death, the one that guarantees life by the life of Christ within me.
What are your sacrifices adding to your life and others? Are they pleasing, pleasant and acceptable to God? Before you become jealous and competitive as you see your brother or sister prospering, check out the quality of your gifts, the preparation and the presentation. Remember you are ultimately giving to God and he deserves the ultimate.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.