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Making Sacrifice With Joy

I heard a story once about two wealthy Christians, a lawyer and a
merchant, who traveled with a group that was going around the world.
As they were visiting in Korea, they saw by the side of the road, a
field in which a boy was pulling a crude plow and an old man held the
plow handles and guided it. The lawyer was amused and took a snapshot
of the scene.

He turned to the missionary, who served as their interpreter and
guide, and he said, "That’s a curious picture.  I suppose they are
very poor."

The guide replied, "Yes, that is the family of Chi Noue.  When the
place of worship was being built, they were eager to give something to
it, but they had no money, so they sold their only ox and gave the
money to the church. This spring, they are pulling the plow themselves."

The men were silent for several moments.  Then the businessman
replied, "That must have been a real sacrifice."
The guide said, "They do not call it that.  They thought it was
fortunate that they had an ox to sell."

I am reminded of a parable Jesus told: "The kingdom of heaven is like
treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy
over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." (Matt.
13:44).
Notice carefully the words "for joy." This man doesn’t just sell
everything he has; he does so with joy.  He doesn’t regret it. He
doesn’t complain about the sacrifice he has to make. In fact, he
probably doesn’t even consider it to be a sacrifice. He gives a lot
for the field, but he gets so much more in return.
When I perform a wedding ceremony, I often include these words:
"Whatever sacrifice you will be required to make to preserve this
common life, always make it generously.  Sacrifice is usually
difficult.  Only love can make it easy; and perfect love can make it a
joy."
The same thing holds true in our walk with Christ.  Sacrifices will be
necessary, and only a deep love for Christ will make them a joy.  The
real test of our commitment is not so much whether we are willing to
make sacrifices for our Lord, but whether we are able to make those
sacrifices with joy.

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