To obey is better than sacrifice

I love comedy. Bonus if it’s clean. Superbonus if my kids can watch it with me and they get the references and the jokes too. Let me introduce you to, if you haven’t heard of him already, to Comedian Michael Jr. He has a great story and if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE knowing how a person got to where they are in knowing and serving the Lord in whatever career/volunteer field, location, or family God has them in.

I’d like to highlight this comedy set called, “The right response with Michael Jr.” embedded below. Within his set, he talks about obedience being better than sacrifice and living generously. Why am I talking about this in my blog? Well, he makes some great points and if you stay tuned, I flesh out most of them that stood out to me below. We can be reminded of God’s Truth in so many different ways. Michael Jr. uses comedy to set the stage and #bethepunchline. He introduces the gospel of Christ to those who may not normally hear. I’m all for that. Check it out:

There are other videos, vlogs, and new content published weekly by Michael Jr. on his active YouTube channel or website. (Check out “Laughing On Purpose – Comedy Special” available now via YouTube when previously it was only sold as a DVD released in 2013.)

Timestamps and Quotes by Michael Jr.

7:21 “What can I give to this audience, right #inbetweenthegaps ? Everyone has some gaps. “What are you asking in-between the gaps? Are you asking ‘What can you get?’ or are you asking, ‘What can you give?’ Because if you don’t articulate which one you’re asking, by default, you’re actually saying, ‘What can I GET’ by default every single time. Ever since the fruit. So you have to articulate the answer to that.”

7:50 “Had he [the deceased photographer] been of the mindset, I [Michael Jr.] believe, to save the little girl, he himself would probably be alive right now. … I would have never made that call [to show this photo and tell the story in the middle of my comedy set] but because I was #listening in-between the gaps, I did something I wouldn’t normally do, to give in a way I didn’t think that I could give.” [One of the many articles about the photographer and the prize winning photograph .] “You have gaps too. There is something more that you can give, to your church, to your community and to your spouse. And it may look different than you think.”

12:18 “You see a homeless guy who is thirsty, what do you do?” … “First scenario you play God; in the second scenario you play FOR God. I want to play FOR God. #Obedienceisbetterthansacrifice.”

19:00 The Richardson family story. 

28:00 Talk with the woman who was deaf. #askthenextquestion #deliverthepunchline “Where …is the special needs nurse …who can deliver their punchline? Who can do what they are supposed to do right now?” … “Where… is the special needs nurse who can give the way they should give right now?” …”People, understand the importance of giving and receiving. It’s amazingly important. You got to fully grab a hold of this. You have to fully grab a hold of this. There are people next to you right now who need you to give and they also need you to receive.”  

31:00 “So get yourself out of the way and just do what it is you are supposed to do. Listen to the Father’s voice. To obey is better than sacrifice. I love you. I’m Michael Jr.”

32:34 “Because of your generosity, Life.Church, as a gift from a local church, is able to give away the YouVersion Bible app to over a third of a billion people. For free.” – Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel [I LOVE this app YouVersion and I will write a blog about it soon!]

My thoughts

Since God personally touched our family by allowing us the opportunity to open up our home and stretch our hearts in providing foster care, the story about the Richardson family really got to me. It demonstrated, in so many different ways through their one story, how God works in and through His people. I don’t want to say too much right now just in case you haven’t watched the video yet above (see above to watch; their story starts at 19:00).

A deeper question to consider is, are we evenwilling to be open to what God would want us to do? In any situation? In all situations? I definitely have “played God” in other’s lives thinking of course this is what God would want me to do. But I love the point that Michael Jr. brought up with needing to go to God and ask. There is nothing wrong with checking in and staying connected with the Lord. Do we really want to operate without Him? Of course, we don’t have to all look the same in how, specifically, we go to God and when, but I think we DO, as followers of Christ, need to be of the mindset that we are not operating on our own understanding and assuming for God. We have to actually follow God to be a follower, right?

As a silly comparison, I wouldn’t want my husband to assume what I want all the time. Of course, it is nice to not have to say what I want and he just KNOWS AND he gets it right, exactly right, every single time. (sigh) Without my husband and I even talking about it- he just knows. He knows because we are so “in-tune” with one another and my husband knows me so very well. Ha! Well, in our almost 12 years of marriage, this “in tune” and perfect communication has not happened on a consistent basis. I mean, every now and then, yes, sure he and I both get things right, but that’s really not the norm. Anyway, I don’t think I’d like it if he never talked with me or checked-in with what my thoughts are and just went and made decisions without me all the time. Even if he was suffering for my sake, doing things that he thought I would want him to do- well, maybe that’s not what I wanted him to do. I mean, it’s nice and all… but… why not talk to me about it first? Why not check in?

So, if miscommunication happens between my husband and I, then just imagine how it would be between myself towards our holy God. God has no problem knowing and understanding me. After all, He is the one who formed me in my mother’s womb and He knows more about me than I even know about myself. (Psalm 139:13-14) I’m talking about ME operating on behalf of God. As if I know what God is doing and thinking about in the situations that He presents before me and those around me every single day.

I have to be careful in thinking about God as if He is like me. Remember, God is not limited like we are as humans. (Jesus was at one point 100% man but also 100% God at the same time when He was here with us in the flesh on earth. Even in that, our minds cannot fully comprehend how this is possible and all there is to know about our powerful God.) Also, we can’t assume on God because He might be doing a new thing. We don’t know so we go to Him. We ask Him in prayer and we read His word regularly to know God and to be more aligned and ‘in-tune’ with our God. God doesn’t get upset like we probably do (or like how I do sometimes) when “someone” (cough, cough my child) asks you a question and because you’re so engrossed in something else you respond back with a short answer and maybe a long, strained sigh. (Heh heh) Maybe you do that, or maybe you don’t. Just saying. … Well, God isn’t like that. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9) So as Michael Jr. said, and I agree, I’d rather play FOR God than to play God when a situation presents itself. Where are the gaps? How can I give? What do you want me to do, God?

To obey is better than sacrifice.

1 Samuel 15 (read the whole chapter to see what King Saul did)

22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to listen than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
    and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
   he has also rejected you from being king.”
– 1 Sam 15:22-23 ESV

Whenever I read the words, “To obey is better than sacrifice” I sing out this song by Keith Green. When I listen to it, I recognize that I fall short. Often. Thank you God that you did not leave me there.

Jesus generously gave for me and for you when He willingly came down, put on human flesh, lived and was crucified for my sins. For the different ways I would not acknowledge God, taking credit for what was His, and/or willingly turned away from and even boldly disobeyed Him- Jesus paid the price for all of my sins and for all of your sins. Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus did not stay dead because He was who He said He was- God the Son. He was 100% God and so death had no hold on Him. He was resurrected to life three days later and spent time on earth showing Himself to hundreds of people, eating food and preparing them that he would leave (ascend into heaven to be back with God the Father). However, Jesus did not leave us here alone. He promised the Helper, Holy Spirit, would come to be with those of us who have trusted in Jesus, God’s Son, as their Lord and Savior of their life. John 14 ESV “15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you forever, … 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” When they decide they want to turn from their own selfish ways and want to turn instead to a life of following Jesus, they are saved.

We must receive and accept the free gift of salvation from the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He already gave in full for you and for me. Receive it today, if you have not already. As we have freely been given, we are to freely give.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10 ESV

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.Romans 5 ESV

If this brought up any questions for you, please ask them or find someone you can talk to that is following the Lord. May they listen in between the gaps and ask the next question. May they not play God but play FOR God by being used by Him to draw you closer to Christ.

If you’re still not sure about Jesus, I understand. One day the Lord will open your eyes and your heart and you will know that He is presenting you with a question. Will you continue going your own way or will you respond in obedience and follow Him?

“12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord,…” Jeremiah 29:12-14a

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