I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1
This is from Dr. Helen Roseveare’s book, Living Sacrifice, Willing to be whittled as an arrow (Christian Focus Publications, 1980)
Sacrifice is a term of the past, not of today. Today, no one is expected to sacrifice anything. We are surrounded by game shows that give you riches if you answer a few questions on general knowledge or guess the right box to open. The unspoken of the age is ‘if something is difficult, do something else instead. If something is expensive, borrow it or borrow the money to buy it.’
What place does sacrifice have in this world? The Bible says it is central–and that sacrifice is not only a key to the future, it is the essence of a Christian’s life today. God does have a right to demand our sacrifice–with all our heart, soul, mind and strength–and it is our privilege to respond to that demand. If those words sound alien to you then you may not have yet entered into the joy of Christian belief and service. The key to an authentic life is sacrifice. (Taken from the back cover of her book)
Helen was a missionary doctor in the Congo/Zaire. In 1964 there was a civil war, causing guerrillas to come into the villages and take the teenagers to fight with the rebels and to kill and destroy what was left behind. A 9 year old, Paul, was trapped by rebels in their Christian school. The others had fled and it was Paul’s turn to be the last one into the jungle and to make everything look in disarray and take down anything with current dates on it so they would think the school had been abandoned.
He knew he couldn’t tell the soldiers where the other students were, lest they be killed. He also knew that if he didn’t, he would be beaten and killed. He prayed to God for courage. He had only to know Jesus as His savior a few months before. Certainly there was no one else to help him now. He kept repeating P-M to himself over and over. It was the secret code of their youth group. It was a part of the phrase Pasipo Mupaka, meaning “For Jesus Christ with no limits.”
They flung him around, kicking and hitting him. Suddenly Paul knew what to do. He pretended to be Jackie, a deaf-mute classmate who only made garbled sounds and gesticulations. The guerrillas gave up, deciding there was no school there. “Under my breath,” he told Helen later, “I kept repeating P-M to remind myself that Jesus loved me so much that He died for me, and so I could go through anything they did to me, for His sake.” (pages 18-20)
There is a cost involved in responding to God’s insistent demands on our lives. But it is also a privilege to share in the sufferings of Christ and to be a living sacrifice “For Jesus Christ with no limits.”