It had been a long, emotionally-charged week and it dawned on me that somehow it was only Tuesday evening.
At that point, the majority of my belongings were already packed and I was sitting on a sofa that wasn’t mine in a house that I have considered my home for well over a year.
The mixed emotions of leaving and staying, investing and moving on, packing my home while I unpacked my classroom for a month more at the Denver Street School were making me even crazier than I usually feel. I tried to quiet my mind and focus on spending time with Jesus, but my brain continued to eavesdrop on my roommates’ conversation about some tv show in the front room. I pulled my headphones out of my bag, shoved them in my ears, and flipped open to a new page in my journal, fully intending to word-vomit at the foot of the Cross– something I’m a professional at.
As I traced my pen around the edge of my journal, my brain spun in a different direction.
Two days before, we had read Psalm 50 in church, and as I sat with my Bible balancing atop my knees, I heard verses 10-12 in my pastor’s voice ringing in my head:
“For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are Mine.”
“There is no sacrifice that you could give God that He needs. He does not require anything of us except an offering– a sacrifice of thanksgiving, verse 14 tells us.” I replayed Brian’s sermon yet again in my mind.
Lord, I know you don’t require my sacrifice, but I want to give it all for you. I mean, I’m leaving everything here in Denver to follow you. Do you even give a rip?? What kind of God would call someone to follow them and then say that they need nothing? Not even my love? What does sacrifice look like if it’s not something I tangibly give up? Is that even a sacrifice at all?
I sat on the couch and scribbled furiously in my journal as wave after wave of confusion and emotion washed over me. A conglomeration of this summer’s Psalms sermons all came to mind at once.
He doesn’t need our sacrifice; He doesn’t need our love. But not because He is uncaring, no. He doesn’t need our love or admiration because He is already complete. He is all powerful. All knowing. He is the God that delights in us– the one who sings over us and mends the broken hearts that we bring and sacrifice to Him.
As I sat and wrestled, unsure of what sacrifice looked like– in my life and just in general, my Spotify shuffled and Adoleo’s new song came on.
“My God, I seek you; I solely thirst for you. Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. Like a treasure in the field, I’ll sell everything. To find You, to find that You’re worth everything. For you are my treasure and none compares with you. Your love is greater than all else I run to.”
As I took in the lyrics and haunting melody, I flipped to Matthew 13– “The Parable of the Field” that Emily was singing about in my headphones.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Lord, I’m selling everything. Well, technically I’m putting it all in storage.. but You get the point. What are You trying to show me with this? I am sacrificing for You, but it doesn’t feel like enough. I feel like there’s something else that I’m supposed to see here…
I sat in semi-annoyed silence, my pen paused on my journal. And from the weird, deep Spirit place inside my brain, it came:
I am the one who sacrificed for you. You are my treasure– the one I sing over– the one for whom I am so jealous that I gave up everything I had and came for you– dying on the cross. I gave up my throne. I gave up perfect unity within Myself and I came for you. And not only did I come for you, but I came in Joy and bought you at the highest price. Because I love you.
After a week of meditating, wrestling, and praying through the way the Lord flipped this parable on its head for me, I have realized that it is true.
My sacrifices are not in vain; no, He see’s my sacrifice and He sings over it. Not because He needs it, but because He acknowledges my paltry offerings as the most that I think I can give and He loves them because He loves me. Unconditionally.
He sees my heart that is breaking as I say my good-byes and pack my favorite belongings back into boxes to be put back into storage for the umpteenth time in the last eight years.
He sees me and He sees you.
He knows what sacrifices we are making and yet even in the midst of those sacrifices, He reminds us– begs us to remember that all He wants is our hearts: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a repentant heart. O Lord, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
May we lay down our hearts today as we lay plans and dream dreams because God will not despise or shun our hearts if we are offering them up to Him.
He knows we are imperfect; He knows we will probably always strive to please Him and be caught up in the web of trying to work out our salvation in good deeds and sacrifices. None of that surprises Him and none of that could cause Him to look down on us or stray from His steadfast love.
The steadfast love that caused Him to give His life for us– to call us His treasure.
You are His treasure. I am His treasure.
Do you hear that?!
He came for us, died for us, and in His unbelievable power raised Himself from death to come back for us once more.
May we remember that today and live out of the truth of Love.