Psalm 116:12, 17-19 - What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits to me? ... I will offer You the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the Name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!
A Spanish scholar and man of letters tells an interesting story about an old Roman aqueduct at Segovia, Spain. The aqueduct was built in the year 109 of our era. For 18 centuries it carried cool water from the mountains down to the thirsting city. Then aqueducts went out style. Modern pipelines were laid, and the old aqueduct was retired. It was no longer to do any work, but was merely to be preserved as an historic landmark of interest to future generations. Almost immediately the aqueduct began to fall apart. The sun shone on the dry mortar, and it crumbled; stones were loosened and began to fall. A few years of idleness ruined what 18 centuries of service could not destroy.
As the ancient psalmist thought of God's bountiful goodness and of all the blessings God had showered upon him, he expressed a desire to make a sacrifice for God. He asks, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me?" As we think of the goodness of God and of all the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ the Savior—faith, courage, and hope; forgiveness of sins and life everlasting—we, too, will want to bring a sacrifice for Christ.
There are so many things each of us has to offer others in the service of Christ and the church. We may bring major skills like career expertise, or our ability to put things together—and these are wonderful ways in which to serve. Or we bring simpler—but no less significant things—like our ears to listen to someone's pain, our words to console a worried and anxious heart, or our hand to reach out and put on someone's shoulder. These are vital connections. These are things we can all do—just as Jesus has done for us.
Look at what Christ did for us—because He loved us—long before we learned to love Him. As the hymn, "Christ's Dying Love," written by Isaac Watts, says, "How condescending and how kind was God's eternal Son! Our misery reached His heavenly mind, and our pity brought Him down."
Jesus came, not to be served, but to serve. He came, not to get, but to give. He sacrificed His life that in Him we might have eternal life. Think of it! God Himself suffered and died in shame and ignominy for our eternal salvation, before we had ever been born!
Indeed, what shall we render to the Lord?
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You sent Your Son to bring us service we can never repay. And you saved us, not merely to be ancient landmarks, historic points of interest that no longer work, but active in vital, daily service. Let us not be idle. Show us the service that we can carry to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From "A Sacrifice for Christ," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Armin Oldsen, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Do you have some old thing you value, but don't use anymore?
2. Do you have a favorite time to pray to God? Why is that time best for you?
3. Is there any certain time/activity when you feel you are most serving God?
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