This morning on our trip to town, my eight-year-old daughter, Toria, sat beside me, happily drawing a picture. Her silence was interspersed with questions about heaven, the theme of her art-work. "Mom, are there castles in heaven?" "How about dogs?" "Will we share things?"
That last question caught me off guard. Of course we can share smiles, share songs and share stories of what God has done. But the kind of sacrificial love, demonstrated through acts of giving to the point of suffering loss, will be impossible in a place where there is no want. Only here on earth can we forgo sleep to take care of a sick child, can we forgo food, to see someone else filled, can we forgo warmth by giving our jacket to provide comfort for someone else.
Christ has demonstrated this love to us, by leaving the glory of heaven, to live a life of poverty and suffering. He demonstrated it even more so, by giving his life to save ours. We could not understand even a glimpse of this kind of love, had we been born in a perfect world. Only here do we have the privilege of following in his steps, giving sacrificially as an act of worship to him. In Extreme Devotion by Voice of the Martyrs, a Romanian captive is mentioned, who would stand in the place of his fellow prisoners, when any name in his cell was called to receive a beating. He gladly took their beatings, knowing that Christ had also taken his punishment. Through this prisoner's sacrifice, many understood the gospel, and God was glorified.
Of course, our daily sacrifices pale in light of these examples. None the less, this is what we are called to do. So, whether your daughter is crying at 2AM, your son needs help with a project while you had hoped to settle down with a book, or whether you give away that last slice of pizza you had been eyeing, thank God for his willing sacrifice and for your opportunity to glorify him in this practical way. Now is your chance! You won't be able to do this in heaven.
Romans 12:1 "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (ESV)