As I was cleaning out my Grandmother’s home (I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready for the yard sale in three weeks!!!) I came across this little card with these words typed upon it:

Politics without principle
Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without effort
Wealth without work
Business without morality
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice

All of these struck me, especially the last one.

Since I am not a political person I’m going to skip the first one…

I. Pleasure without Conscience

11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun – Ecclesiastes 2:11

Is this not where we are. The world tells us to go after pleasure, what feels good. When did we as God’s people become so self-absorbed?

II. Knowledge Without Effort

9 Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
11 God said to Solomon, "Since this is your heart's desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have." – 2 Chronicles 1:9-13

I sometimes think the Word of God is supposed to simply pop into my little head without any effort on my part. I don’t really desire to work hard at hiding His Word in my heart. I just wish for it to be there. I do not think to ask for wisdom or knowledge because I’m too lazy to put it to good use. What a careless generation we are?

III. Wealth without Work

9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed." But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands." – Nehemiah 6:9

Nehemiah is absolutely a story for another day. I love this book of the Bible. The man Nehemiah was blows me away. How he trusted and obeyed God with fervent devotion was breathtaking. I also love that when the going got tough he didn’t complain or grumble about the other people not pulling their weight or how afraid they were—no! When things got tough he prayed that God would strengthen his hands, help his weakness. Love it, learn from it daily.
Let’s skip to the last one shall we…

IV. Worship without Sacrifice

The air went out of my lungs with this one. Andrew Peterson talks about the word “Hosanna”. How it was both a praise and a prayer. They were praising God for who He was, but they were also asking Him to deliver them out of something. I have stood at many a concert with my hands held high singing glorious praises to God. I wonder, in those moments, how often I am missing the true art of worship. Worship is not just in hands lifted high, it is in every action I take. There is very little sacrifice where my worship is concerned. It is in a safe and controlled environment. It is a feel good experience. I wonder my reaction to living in a festering pit of filth and blackness, praying for a banana & receiving 99 (“Evidence Not Seen” by Darlene Deibler Rose). I wonder about the young girl who was sold into a brothel by her own family member and still chose to write scripture in the space she was forced to have sex –choosing to praise God, even believing God put her there for a reason (a story relayed by Sara Groves at her concert)…wonder what Worship with Sacrifice looks like…hmmmm…more pondering, much much more…

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. – Romans 12:1-3


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