Being a Living Sacrifice
Therefore, 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)
I am a professor at a university in Chicago, IL. In everything I do, teach, and write, I ask myself the question, what is my vocation in life? How may I derive strength for my vocation in life?
What does it mean for a professor to offer oneself as a “living sacrifice?”
A Christian may only do this by the “mercies of God.” The Hebrew counterpart of the Greek word used here is the word racham, which literally means womb. Therefore, it is the womb of God which enables a Christian to be birthed and live one’s vocation in life. The vocation of a Christian is shaped from the time one is birthed, and especially from the time one is born anew. In John, chapter 3, this is essentially what Jesus said Nikodemus, and seasoned rabbi. He said, “You need to be born again. You need a new vocation in life.”
When, you and I have this experience, we acquire three virtues, which are very crucial for this new life:
Life is a Self-Sacrificial Experience
A Christian must be willing to die to oneself over and over again, so that one would be born over and over again.
Christians Must Live a Holy Life in One’s Vocation
Holiness, in the Bible is not about purity. It is about restfulness. This was the demeanor of God when he created the universe (Genesis 2:3). Holiness in one’s vocation is about restfulness and completeness.
Our Work Must be Pleasing to God
Just like Abel’s demeanor and sacrifice. Sadly, Cain’s demeanor and offering were not pleasing to God (Genesis 4). It is the demeanor of a person, which results in the quality of the sacrifice. It is the demeanor and the attitude of a Christian worker, which results in a work which is either pleasing or not pleasing to God, or humanity.
Work is Worship
Interestingly, the first time the word for work is used is in Genesis 2:15. This verse reads, “God took the man and gave him restfulness in the Garden of Eden to worship and keep.” Both of these verbs are used in the rest of the Bible to describe the worship of God. The first word, avad, in Hebrew is used when Moses goes to Pharaoh, and he says to him, “Let my people go that they may worship me.” (Exodus 9:13; Exodus 23:25, and so on). The second word, shamar, in Hebrew, is used when, when God asks the people to “keep the holy times,” (Exodus 12:17), or “keep his commandments,” (Exodus 20:6). These are both worship words.
This verse asks us to bring our vocation back to the original idea of God. It says, “Let you vocation in life so be that every day is a worship to God.”
Lord, as I go about my vocation in life help me to so live that my life is a living sacrifice to you. May it be pleasing to you. May it be a life of worship.