Tuesday, October 24, 2006

All the fat is the Lord's (Leviticus 3:16)!

In our Leviticus series last Sunday evening, we were pondering the description of the "peace offering" in Leviticus 3. In making the sacrifice of an animal from the herd or flock, the Israelites were instructed to burn on the altar the fat, the kidneys, and the liver of the victim animals. These were likely considered the choice parts of the animal by the ancient Israelites.

The spiritual message appears to be that Israel was expected to offer up the choice parts of their lives to God and to keep nothing of these back for themselves. This was the only way they could have peace with God.

Do we offer up to God the choice parts of our lives? Do we give to him the best of our mind, heart, and strength? Does the Lord get the choice portions of our time, our effort, our money, our passions, and our energy? Or do we give him the leftovers, the parts we do not really want or need?

I thought of Bill Wallace, a young man from Tennessee who went to medical school back in the early 1930s and trained to become a surgeon (listen to the audio biography). Rather than pursue a profitable medical career at home, however, Wallace answered a call to become a missionary to China in 1935. He bravely led a little Chinese mission hospital in Wuchow through the chaos of World War II, and he remained serving in China after the war even as communism enveloped the country. Arrested on trumped up charges and suffering merciless torture, Wallace died in a dank prison cell on February 10, 1951. He was only 43 years old. A few of his Chinese Christian friends later erected a makeshift marker over the simple grave where his body had been buried without ceremony. The marker read: "For me to live is Christ."

Can it be said of our lives, as one might say of Wallace’s, that "all the fat is the Lord’s"?

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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