What is the one thing that you could never give up?
For many, I am sure this question stirs up a few light-hearted responses. I could never give up my daily cup of coffee. I wouldn’t dream of giving up my phone. I couldn’t give up watching my favorite show or my favorite sports team. I could never ever give up even one minute of sleep. The reality regarding this type of sacrifice is that the overall impact would be almost insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Life would go on. The pain, if there were any, would quickly subside.
We read in Genesis 22 that God tells Abraham to give up Isaac, his only son, by offering Isaac as a burnt offering. For many of us who have read this text before, the story doesn’t seem so terrible. We know the ending: Abraham is stopped moments before he is about to kill his son, and he is blessed for showing his obedience to God. Because of the familiarity, it is difficult to recognize this as a dire situation, but it is important to note that Abraham did not know how this was going to play out. He was willing to slaughter his son, see his only son die at his own hand, as an act of obedience to God. This type of sacrifice would have an extremely significant impact on the grand scheme. Life would go on, yes, but would the pain of giving up a child ever subside?
Consider once more: what is the one thing that you could never give up? Not the coffee or the phone or extra sleep – I’m talking about your most loved earthly connection. How would you respond if God told you to offer up that very thing? It may never happen, but we know as Christians that God calls us to obey. What we are shown in Genesis 22 is that true obedience means following God with no reservations, even when that requires us to give up something we cherish. Like Abraham, we may not know the reason why or what lies beyond our sacrifices. We need only to trust in God’s perfect plan and respond when we are called to obey.