September 22, 2017

Sacrificial Thanks

Romans 12:1-3

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

—  Romans 12:1

Statistics show that in North America church attendance is shrinking, especially among young people. It’s hard to know what to make of this trend, but some churches have tried to respond by adding a “cool” factor to their worship—cool music, cool pastor, cool worship space, cool coffee bar.

Further studies have shown, though, that “cool” is not what young people are actually looking for in a church. Instead, they are seeking authenticity in their leaders and a cause worth staking their lives on.

Paul proclaims that there is something worth sacrificing everything for: it’s called God’s mercy. And yet God’s mercy cannot be bought through any sacrifice we make. It’s God’s gift to us, offered freely in Christ. And Paul explains that when we look and see God’s mercy in our lives, our response will be gratitude.

The authors of the Heidelberg Catechism wrote, “Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, is also restoring us by his Spirit into his image, so that with our whole lives we may show that we are thankful to God for his benefits” (Q&A 86).

Living gratefully isn’t your work alone. Christ is at work in you, opening your eyes to God’s mercy and prompting you to stake your life on a cause with eternal benefits. How will you be a living sacrifice today?

Lord, help me to be ever grateful for your mercy and to offer my life as a sacrifice to you. Amen.

About the author — Ruth Boven

Ruth Boven serves as minister of congregational life at LaGrave Ave. CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Greg, have two adult children. They find rich purpose in urban ministry and delight in enjoying the wonders of God's good creation.

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