How about we look at some stories (this is a rhetorical suggestion, for I am about to take you through some stories):
I shunned friends and co-workers to go to church on Sunday mornings. I sacrifice each week by giving about twenty to thirty per cent of my income to help the church function and grow. I help out with the children and youth, and I sometimes greet people at the door. Every so often I even help during offering and communion by passing items from row to row.
I was invited to a church building by some friends. The message amazed me, so I began believing in this person called Jesus Christ. There was a message about giving to those in need, and I knew the church needed some things I had. I gave them my new stereo, a bunch of my clothes, and whatever may have been needed and I had. My parents thought I had gone crazy!
I was living my life, doing what I wanted when I wanted how I wanted. When I was almost in an accident I realized I had forgotten God. I began letting some of my friends go, I ended a relationship, I lost my job, sold or gave away the majority of my possessions, and ended up following God’s call to a new place where I knew no one. I was homeless and without money most of the time, wondering where or if I might get something to eat each day. My family thought I had gone crazy. In truth, in some ways I had, for I believed some crazy things during that time. However, I truly discovered God.
I was living my life trying to get by. One day, someone came and told us about this man named Jesus. The story of this man was so amazing! I had to do something! I believed this message, and when I learned there was a family twelve miles away with a couple of pages from this book that talked about Jesus I decided every week to walk the twelve miles to get a chance to read these pages and talk with this family about Jesus.
I lived fearing for my life. The government has made it hard to provide for my family, and I followed all of the laws for fear of disappearing one day. Then someone told me about Jesus Christ. I allowed the Lord to change me. Today, I sit in a prison waiting to find out if I will be beaten or killed today or soon, and all because I told the leaders of my town about Jesus. Every opportunity I have I share this good news with the jailers and other inmates, and sometimes I am beaten for it.
Some of these stories are actually from my own past. The others are taken from others’ personal testimony. (I am not telling which are which, but if you know me you might be able to figure it out)
Who would you say is more sold out for Jesus?
Is this a trick question? Yes and no.
You see, I put these in an order that shows more levels of sacrifice. For some, each story may be their calling in life while the other stories are for other people. This is why it can be a trick question. But what if you are the person from the first story? Would you be willing to give up your car to someone in need? What if you are the person in the second story? Would you be willing to give up everything? Would you be willing to go out of your way and spend a lot of time out of your day to travel to hear the Word of God and learn more about Jesus? Are you willing to drop everything, share the Gospel with a stranger, and possibly be beaten, imprisoned, or killed?
As I grew, I found myself giving more to God and in different ways. Today, I feel like I am not doing enough, even though I am going to school to be better equipped to serve Him, and I work in an environment in which I am able to encourage other believers and share the Gospel with others (though, technically, I could lose my job for that second part).
That makes me wonder sometimes if I am truly sold out.
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Mark 10:17-22
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Luke 19:1-8
Who was more sold out? The man who did everything required, or the man who acted out of pure love and desire for God?
Where are you?