“I want you to know that the invitation to offer your life as a living sacrifice is probably not going to feel very glamorous or heroic.
It’s going to show up in the way that you love your spouse when it’s difficult. The way that you care for your children even on the long days. The way that you serve other people. The way that you practice humility in the workplace.
It’s going to take place in the quiet conversations between you and God where you say, ‘In this situation today, your will be done. I’m laying down my life, my will, my rights. Use me as you desire.'” – Jess Alston
My family lost someone special last week. As a regular reader of my blog, my Uncle Bruce would want me to tell this story straightforward, to speak slowly and very clearly. He taught us all how to slow down. He would always let me know when my blog posts leaned too much in the poetic wandering and abstract direction (“You lost me on that one, Ash”), so I’ll do my best to give this one to you straight.
This week at Dig Deep, Jess taught us about how Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, shared her life’s secret at the end of her life. She said that she could give only one explanation: “I have kept nothing back from God.”
I think my Uncle Bruce would share the same secret. He offered his life to God as a living sacrifice, without glamorous or heroic expectations. And the hundreds of people packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the wooden pews at his funeral would tell you a different version of the same story about how he served or loved them deeply. Honorably, yet not expecting applause. His family can tell you all about the many long days.
He spent years in quiet conversations with God, laying down his life, asking for his Lord to use him as he desired. He looked to me for answers about faith that I didn’t have, as if the Bible I carried around with me said something different than his. As if I had discovered the secret to this invitation.
All I know is this: every day we have a fresh start to make the most of those quiet conversations. To serve and love people in a deeper way than the day before. To offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
It’s not easy. But it’s the daily hard work that builds a beautiful life.
A good, good life.