Faithful Love, Not Sacrifice
Open Your Bible
Hosea 6:1-7:2, Matthew 12:1-8, Isaiah 26:16-19
BY Guest Writer
Text: Hosea 6:1-7:2, Matthew 12:1-8, Isaiah 26:16-19
As a church culture kid, brought up on the lap of youth group events, Christian concerts, Bible camp, and the Awana Olympics, I somehow got the impression that overseas mission work was the highest calling a Christian could have. I truly and passionately loved God, so if that’s where the faith-action was, then that’s where I wanted to be.
To a wide-eyed high-schooler, anxious for adventure and an uncommon life, the abnormality of mission work appealed to me. I was ready to sacrifice BIG for God. But if I’m honest, that was mostly because I thought a missionary life sounded kind of flashy—daring, and even religiously “successful.”
I took a handful of short-term trips (which, in all reality, probably benefitted me more than the people I went to serve), but I never became a career missionary, not in the way I had pictured, anyway. I was willing, but God had a different plan for my life. Today, my “mission field” looks strangely more like my childhood home than the jungles of the Amazon.
Maybe you’ve wrestled through that tension, too. Can we be faithful to God in the ordinary, or do we have to do “big things” for God for our faith to be legitimate?
In Ephesians 4:1, Paul urges believers to “live worthy of the calling [we] have received.” But what does that actually look like? Hosea 6:6 helps us:
“For I desire faithful love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
This verse shows us what God considers the highest devotion to Him, what He wants most: faithful love over sacrifice, a relationship with Him over our offerings.
Have you ever had a nagging suspicion that giant sacrifices come more easily than quiet faithfulness? I have. It was easier to dream of living in a foreign land, leading whole villages to Christ, than it is to actually live a quiet, largely unknown, completely unflashy, but faithful life. To be loyal to God even when His plan for me doesn’t make for a great Christmas card.
God still expected the Israelites to bring the prescribed offerings and sacrifices to the altar. But those things weren’t what He wanted most of all.
So why would God prefer loyalty and faithfulness over big sacrifices? The answer is the echo of the love story woven throughout the Bible’s pages: God wants our hearts. He is jealous for our affection. He wants loyalty and faithfulness because that’s what you bring to the table when you are hopelessly in love with someone. He wants us to be head-over-heels for Him, and when we are, sacrifices will come easily.
Whether our faithfulness takes us to the ends of the earth or leaves us right where we are, remember what He’s really after: us.
Jessie Minassian is an author, blogger, and speaker, who prefers to be known for her ability to laugh at herself, a weird obsession with nature-ish stuff, and a penchant for making up words. Learn more about Jessie and her ministry at LifeLoveandGod.com.