Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sacrifice vs. Consecration

Recently we asked all of our missionaries to read, “The Consecrated Missionary”, by Tad Callister.  It is a wonderful talk that is very inspiring.  We have had many discussions about it with our missionaries. One of the points they have talked about is sacrifice vs. consecration.  There is a difference.  We can give up things in our life; sacrifice, and still not be consecrated.  For example a missionary can come on a mission giving up home, family and money and still not be consecrated.  A missionary can work hard, get up at 6:30am, study 2 hours every day, talk to everyone, listen to trainings and still not be consecrated.  There are a lot of reasons to do what is asked of you on a mission: fear, pride, promised blessings, pleasing your companion, or habit.  Sacrifice can be giving up, or doing something that is right, but you will not get the greatest benefit from it until you consecrate that sacrifice.  Consecration is when you dedicate that sacrifice to the Lord.  You recognize your love for your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and want to do their will.  When you’re consecrated to doing the Lords will, you have actually asked in prayer what the Lord wants and then you determine to do that thing because you love the Lord.  When we consciously go throughout our day trying to feel, act and speak in ways we feel the Lord is directing us, our hearts are changed and turned to Him.  We live with Christ.
Consecration can also be fine tuned.  I have often thought, “I’m willing to do the Lord’s will”, which is great, and sounds wonderful, but what I have come to realize is I need to WANT what the Lord wants, not just be willing to do the Lord’s will.  There is a difference between being willing vs wanting.  We withhold a part of our heart when we are willing, still wanting our own way.  When we want the Lords will, we give our whole heart in trust and want what we are given. 
I had a friend who taught me about this a few years ago.  She is the most wonderful, spiritual woman.  She has faced many trials in financial matters over the years.  These have not been small, inconvenient trials, but real and painful hardships lasting years.  Things had gotten a little better at one point in her life and some comfort was achieved, but then more trials came, money ran out, and no job was in sight for her husband.  She felt her heart mourn and ache for something different for her life.  In fervent prayer she sought for understanding and felt in her heart this was a trial for her and her husband’s understanding.  She tried to be willing and turn her heart to God.  In humility one night she prayed and told the Lord she was willing to go through this challenge again if this was what He wanted.  She felt her heart being pricked.  She knew she needed to trust the Lord enough to not just be willing to do the Lords will, but actually want what the Lord wanted for her life.  I admired her so much as I watched her turn to the Lord even more, and work on wanting this huge trial.  What a beautiful example she set for me as I started making my own heart checks seeking to trust the Lord so much that I WANTED everything the Lord was giving me and WANTED to make the sacrifices He asked.
This kind of consecration doesn’t withhold from the Lord.  It is complete trust.  It is complete love.  Imagine wanting all that the Lord wants and asks of us everyday.  I’m still working on it.  Imagine turning your heart to the Lord in all that you do, say or think.  That is a truly consecrated and meaningful life.  It requires being aware of the condition of your heart all the time to know what you are withholding, and then turning to the Lord to let Him do His work there in all things.   
One missionary made the point that we think we are sacrificing when we do the Lords will.  But in reality He blesses us so much that what we gain is so great, that it wasn’t a sacrifice at all.  I know that to be true.

When we came on this mission I felt so consecrated.  I wanted everything the Lord wanted for us.  I felt His hand so much in our lives.  I had wondered why we were given what we had been given while raising our children and as we stepped into this calling I KNEW exactly why. I felt we had been raised up specifically for this assignment.  I felt the power of the Lord every day in amazing ways helping us and guiding us.  It was awesome.  We are going through different things now.  The work, schedule, trainings, driving, medical, speaking, talking, etc. all seem more normal.  But the refiner’s fire is still there, it’s just different.  I’ve learned to talk about the gospel to strangers, and speak and train missionaries, now I’m learning to give of myself in different ways that actually seem harder. I’m learning He is never going to be done with me!  But I am so grateful for all of it.  I want to want, what the Lord wants.

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