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Seeds of the Kingdom

A Costly Sacrifice

by Peter Brokaar

28 September 2019

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Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
John 12:3, NIV

Many times, it is the simplest realisations which are the most profound. Recently I saw someone, who is struggling and hurting a lot, bring a beautiful declaration of praise to the Lord. As she did this, the whole room was filled with God’s holy presence. I surmised that her simple act must have been a real sacrifice to the Lord. That is when it hit me. A sacrifice has to cost us something in order to truly be a sacrifice. If we bring something to the Lord, which does not really cost us, we might be able to call it a gift, but we cannot call it a sacrifice.

Psalm 51 contains these words, ‘My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise’. Why is it that God calls a broken heart a sacrifice? I think it is because, in the end, nothing is more precious to us than our own hearts. It is the deepest, most meaningful thing which we can bring to Him.
Deep down in our heart is where we bury our pain and wounds, hurts and struggles. Many times, we (perhaps subconsciously) say to God, “I will give You everything else, but I cannot give You my heart.” We can give Him our work, our service, our money or whatever. But to allow God near the brokenness of our hearts might feel too painful for us to consider.

Yet I have learnt this from being alongside people in ministry. Whenever we let the Lord close to our deepest level of wounding, He always shows up to do miracles. It is always a holy time when people allow God into the mess which lies buried deep inside their hearts. Truly, bringing the brokenness of our hearts to Him is a precious sacrifice to the Lord.

Not long ago we ministered to an efficient, faithful and successful servant of God. This person had done many wonderful things for the Lord in her lifetime. But, when she was here, the Lord said to her, “I don’t really want all your work. I want your heart”. It was a challenging, but also life-changing, time for this person.

Do you remember Cain and Abel? They both brought sacrifices to the Lord. Yet only Abel’s sacrifice was accepted. It is a horrible thing to feel as Cain must have felt, bringing things to God that He does not accept. But when we bring Him our hearts, with all its hurts and wounds, the Bible guarantees us that this is a sacrifice which He will receive.

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help me to give You my very heart. Forgive me when I have tried to appease You with anything less. Thank You, Lord, that giving You my broken heart is a sacrifice which You will not despise. Amen.

Peter Brokaar is Director of Ellel Ministries Scotland and has been there together with his wife Liz since 2005. They have 3 kids, all born in Scotland! In his free time he likes reading, cooking, running and surfing. Being at Ellel Scotland has given him the privilege of getting to know God deeper and sharing that joy with many others.


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