sacrifice vs sacrifice

when there's no running water for weeks (months), you have to get your own!

I recently sketched a timeline of events in my life and before my life through which God has brought me where I am today. It definitely started before I was born.

Before I was born, my dad gave up his career at IBM to finish his bachelor's degree, go through seminary, and become a pastor. Before that, his grandmother had been praying for years (decades?) that one of her children or grandchildren would become a pastor.

Because of that, I decided I would not go into vocational ministry nor would I marry someone who was. It's not a comfortable life! I knew that as a PK (pastor's kid).

So how did I end up here anyway? I could have written this blog post about PKs and why they either "go awry" or not. Just substitute a few details here and there and you have my experience. As I read that post, I thought of a few reasons, and they are the same as the ones Dale gives for himself:
  • My parents practiced what they preached. (My sidenote: In conversations with fellow PKs, parents not practicing what they preach is the #1 reason PKs give for deciding Jesus is not for them, though my survey is limited to the handful of atheist and agnostic PKs I have known.
  • My dad and mom spent time with me.
  • I was able to see past the negative side of ministry.
  • I made a personal choice to follow Christ and my faith became my own.

handwashing our clothes post-housekeeper, pre-washing machine

Seeing past the negative side of ministry took time, and I tested it out by starting with a 2 year commitment to Wycliffe and OM before I got married. I knew I could survive 2 years, and if it was too hard or too much, I could go back to trying to start a career. But I found my place beyond the negatives (though I complained about a lot of things along the way).

In addition to my trial experience, I remember one particular sermon/lecture from my dad that stayed on my mind as I was deciding. (Actually, I still think about it when I find myself longing for the comfort of, say, reliable utilities or the convenience of online shopping. I can still hear his voice, "They find a way to be comfortable...") I don't even remember whether my siblings were present or if it was a private sermon. Dad was talking about the human tendency to crave comfort, but that pursuing comfort comes with sacrifice, too. Many have sacrificed what they felt God calling them to do because what God was calling them to would have required sacrificing comfort. Following God requires sacrifice: true. But not following God is a sacrifice. And a big one.

One of many verses from the Bible that confirmed Rodgers' and my dream was from God.

Not that a good job and house in the suburbs are bad or wrong. Not that everyone is supposed to take a vow of poverty. The point was that sometimes God calls us to give up some things in order to "seek first the Kingdom...and all these things will be added to you." (see Matthew 6:19-34)
"But when God have to make a choice. You can say "yes" or you can walk away from His will for your life. After struggling for months, I made the choice to say "yes" to God's plan for my life.
"I said that to say this. At the end of the day, each person must decide for themselves if they will follow Christ or not. Yes, godly parents do make a difference and help cultivate the soil, but they cannot make the decision for their child." (also from that blog post)

It's easy for people to see that we have sacrificed comfort to live this life. (How many weeks did we live without running water in our house?) What they don't see is that, had we chosen comfort, we would be sacrificing so much more.


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