2 Samuel 24:23-24
"Take it, my lord, and use it as you wish," Araunah said to David. "…I will give it all to you, and may the LORD your God accept your sacrifice."
But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on buying it, for I cannot present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing."
I've had four major losses in my life, three of them were taken from me unexpectedly, but the last and most recent one was asked of me. This just so happened to be one of the hardest but also the easiest. Hardest because it was the most costly for me, but the easiest because I had a lot of practice learning God's character before it and I knew He would be faithful with whatever He asked me to offer to Him.
The truth is, I could never have surrendered such a costly "possession" a few years ago because I didn't have the history with God back then. I had no clue back then if He would be trustworthy with my deepest desires and greatest treasures. But now I do.
The way of the cross requires that we offer our very best to God—not the leftovers or the freebies. Our best includes the things in our lives that we cherish the most, not the things that don't matter so much.
The question we all wrestle with is this: Will God take those things I cherish away from me if I offer them up on His altar? And we know deep down, that it is always a possibility, which is part of the cost of discipleship.
"In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33)."
This is the cost that keeps many people from ever surrendering themselves and their lives completely to God. We all know up front there is a cost of following Christ, but we hope to somehow get around the most costly parts by exerting our own control and holding back. This holding back produces half-hearted believers who miss out on the miraculous, divine, and exciting will of God in our lives.
The recent sacrifice that God asked me to give up for Him is something I cherish deeply—something that cost me a lot. I'll admit that from the time He gave it to me, He told me it was temporary, so I should hold it loosely. But His gift was so extravagant and so lovely, I had a hard time keeping my heart from wrapping around it. When the time came to give it away, the pain of losing it cut me deeply.
But here's how I'm getting through. I'm finally getting that everything I have comes from God in the first place. Almost always, He gives me things that He later takes away in some way or another for various reasons.
* He now needs it for a better purpose
* He's done teaching me something through it
* He tests me to show me where He rates in my heart
* He wants me to identify with the losses He took for me (the death of His Son)
* He wants to set me free from something that is holding me back
* He wants to give me something better in exchange.
Once I understand and accept this, I can stop doubting God's loving and good character when He asks me to give those things I cherish back to Him.
The second and most important reason I'm coming through this situation unscathed is the realization that God gave up His most cherished possession for me—His only beloved Son. It is not too much for Him to ask me to give up something beloved and cherished for Him, because nothing I could ever give would equal His sacrifice for me.