(This is excerpted from my recent devotional book 31 Letters to the Church on Discipleship.)
Someone has said that the problem with a living sacrifice is that it can crawl off the altar. I haven't, at least, for long. In fifty-two years of following Jesus I have never entertained leaving Him. I don't think I have ever been tempted to stop following Jesus.
The initial call of Jesus, to me, was: Leave everything and follow Me. As I read the Scriptures, that's what I thought The Call was all about. I still think like this.
I was twenty-one years old, and just born again. Sitting in my Lutheran church on a Sunday morning, I was reading the bulletin. One announcement said: "Our church needs a youth leader. Please pray that God would give us someone to lead our youth."
As I read this, I felt a burden. To pray. I did.
Next Sunday came. The announcement was still there. I felt a burden. It felt weightier. I prayed for a youth leader for my church.
During that week the burden grew. I felt concerned. My church needs a youth leader! Sunday came. I read the announcement in the bulletin. I remember thinking, "Oh no. You have to be kidding me!"
When I became an apprentice to Jesus, one of my leaders placed a book in my hands. It was The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I read this: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” At that time I was immersing myself in the four Gospels. I wanted to hear the voice of Jesus. Bonhoeffer sounded like Jesus to me.
Unbelievably to me, I became the youth leader of Tabor Lutheran Church. I am eternally grateful to Jesus for seeing something in me that transcended my human abilities. I learned that such things can only be discovered and experienced if I die to myself.
I am a living sacrifice, offering myself to the Lord.
I want you to do the same.
I am my Beloved's and he is mine.
Every day I say to Jesus, "Have your way with me."
I sacrifice my entire being on the altar of God.
In being a living sacrifice I am on the road that leads to life.
Here am I, Lord. Send me.
All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him I freely give.
(From John Piippo, 31 Letters to the Church on Discipleship, pp. 45-46