People love deals, and I love deals too. Whatever you buy, you have to look for a very good deal. We get so many emails about promotions. Almost every day, several emails, 20% off, 30% off, even 50% off. And then when you look at the picture, it says 70% off, free shipping, buy one and get the second one free. So these days, I get, stressed out. When I buy something, if I pay full price, I feel really, really bad. A few days later, you realize that you could get that for half price and I feel stupid. Whatever I buy, I get stressed out. So if you want to deal ask Miseon, she’s right here. And if you want a car, ask James they’re all choir, James Choe orJames Lee. If you want to travel, ask Helen Chow, they have all the good information.
Faith is not a Bargain
Some people even buy a good piece of clothes for only $10. It’s amazing! We have to do smart shopping. If you pay attention, you can really buy a good thing for a good price. But I realized that it is good to have a bargain, to have a deal, but we have to understand that life is not just a bargain. Life is more than a bargain. You don’t always have the upper hand. You don’t always win. Isn’t that what life is? Especially when we talk about faith, faith is not about a bargain. Some people think of faith in that way. They think it is a good deal. If I say that Jesus is Lord, then I get eternal life. What kind of bargain is that? How much better can the bargain get? If you just say that Jesus is Lord, you get eternal life.
So some people even that okay, for my whole life, I’ll just do whatever I want. And at the end, just before I die, I’ll just say that Jesus is the Lord, then I’ll get the eternal life. I get both worlds. I get the pleasure of this world and I get to have eternal life. What better deal is there? I’m not sure that salvation is possible in that kind of attitude. I don’t know whether that is even salvation. Salvation is not about getting the best deal with the least sacrifice.
The Attitude of the Crowd
Large crowds were following Jesus, but I think Jesus was not really happy because a lot of people followed him. Usually, most people become happy because people follow them. But Jesus seemed disturbed, almost angry. So he turned around, he threw a bomb at them, saying, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”. And then at the end, he said, “none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions”. It was like a bomb. Of course here, hate does not truly mean hate. That is a way of expression in that time. For example, if I like apples better than oranges, I’d say, I love apple and I hate orange. That doesn’t mean that you really hate orange, you just like apple better. So that’s a way of expression. I think Jesus was disturbed by seeing the attitude of the people.
All these people in the crowd who followed Jesus, they were not interested in what Jesus had to say. They were not interested in the kingdom of God. They were just interested in it for themselves. What can I get by following Jesus? That’s all they wanted. Eternal on life or healing or miracle or sense of God, all they care about was themselves. And Jesus was disturbed by the attitude of the people. I wonder whether modern religion has become that way too.
Sacrifice is Beautiful
Jesus pointed out that life is not just about getting the best deal for yourself. Jesus is saying the beauty of all of life, is the sacrifice and a big portion of life is sacrifice. How true that is. We lived on sacrifice. Lot of people sacrifice for us. Our parents sacrifice for us. When you have children, you know that you are willing to sacrifice. We also give a lot of sacrifice for other people. That’s how we survived. That’s how your community survives. That’s how humanity survived, by sacrificing for each other. And this was what Jesus was telling us; a big portion of life is sacrifice. It’s not about what’s in it for me. It is about what I can do for others. That’s why the African proverb says “because you are, I am”. I cannot exist by myself because you sacrifice for me, I exist. That’s what human life is all about, sacrifice. The cross is a sacrifice and I believe that sacrifice is beautiful.
Sacrifice is so beautiful. It brings tears to my eyes when I see that beautiful sacrifice. Getting a deal is not bad, but sacrificing for others is much, much higher in value. When everybody lives for themselves will all perish. But when people sacrifice for each other, everybody, will live. Jesus came to show us that truth. One person’s sacrifice saved the whole of humanity. That’s what Jesus showed, how beautiful now how powerful the sacrifice is. When everybody is selfish in the family, that family will not last too long. It will break down. When every member of the family is selfish, and thinking about only themselves, that family not last. Who wants to be in that family? But when everybody in the family sacrifices for each other, that family will be united. It will create a warm atmosphere where people care for each other and where people feel cared for. Isn’t that what family is?
Principle of Blessing
When everybody in this world is selfish and thinks only for themselves and for their own country, the world, that civilization, will collapse. History tells us that civilization will collapse. We will protect this world from that kind of threat as much as possible. Even if the politicians want to go down way, we should say no to that kind of direction. When everybody thinks about only themselves and only for their country, that whole civilization, whole world, will collapse.
That’s not the kind of principle of blessing God taught us through Abraham. God says this to Abraham, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you”. God will bless them, God will bless you, and God will make your name great. But ultimately so that you’ll be a blessing to others. That’s a principle of blessing. God bless Canada, God bless America, so that we can become a blessing to other countries in the world. That’s the principle of spiritual principle of blessing.
When this world upholds the value of the beauty of sacrifice, the world will flourish. Following Jesus is upholding that value, the value of sacrifice. I really liked this passage that I’m going to read for you. I think this summarizes Jesus’ teaching so well. It’s like a core of Jesus’ teaching. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. How much clearer can you get? Jesus taught us all the right principles in all his teachings, it’s like treasure but don’t take us seriously. We don’t pay attention to that. I believe that this is truth. We Christians uphold this truth in every aspect of our lives. And this is a very countercultural message. But we believe this message is the true message, because it is right. Faith is not about believing in Jesus in our minds. Faith is to follow Jesus and follow Jesus’ footsteps. That’s what faith is. Faith is to follow. I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back. That’s what faith is. Jesus always cared about others. Jesus always tried to serve the needs of others. That is all we should do.
Sacrifice Out of Love
And these kind of people I respect. I don’t respect successful people, I don’t respect rich people, I respect those who sacrifice, who know how to sacrifice for others. Sacrifice is a most beautiful thing. If it is done out of love, out of free will. But sacrifice becomes ugly when you do it out of no choice and out of your desire to become somebody great. Then sacrifice becomes all of a sudden, very ugly. Jesus asked Peter this. He was about to announced that Peter would sacrifice himself to follow Jesus. It was a very hard thing to say. Jesus was hesitant to say that to Peter, so three times he asked Peter, “Peter, do you love me?” Three times, ‘Do you love me?’. Because if you don’t love me, this sacrificed, will make you miserable. ‘Do you love me?’ Three times he asked. then said okay, what kind of sacrifice you are going to make in following me?
Sacrifice out of love is beautiful. And Peter made a beautiful sacrifice. Otherwise Peter would have been miserable. We cannot demand sacrifice from others. You should not demand. Who are you to demand sacrifice from other?. We cannot demand sacrifice from others because sacrifice is something that only you can make. Sacrifice is your right, your own right. And nobody can take away that right from you. No one has a right to take that right away from you. So sacrifice can not be demanded, but you can only give sacrifice out of your freewill, out of love. I believe that sacrifice is the highest learning any human being can learn. More of than space engineering or anything else, if one human being learns how to sacrifice, that’s the highest learning that person achieved in their lives and a very difficult thing to do. So I value highest intelligence in those who know how to sacrifice for others.
And finally, when you live your life with the attitude of sacrifice, somehow your life changes. It’s amazing, it’s a miracle. The praise team sang miracle worker. It’s a miracle. When you live a life of sacrifice, somehow your life turns out all right. You experience peace and joy. Everything works for you. Why do you think so? Because God blesses those who sacrifice for others, because God wants to use those people to rule this world. When we live a life of sacrifice, fear disappears, worry flies away. You have confidence, you have peace, you have power and energy and you feel abundant. Selfish people can never live in peace. As we serve others, we feel God’s presence. We experience the hands of God guiding us and you know that your life will flourish. That’s the power of sacrifice. Your sacrifice not only save other people, but also yourself.