Make the Sacrifice
Christopher Paslay teaches high school English in the Philadelphia School District where he has worked since 1997. He is a frequent contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, where his articles on education and school reform often appear. One of his articles expressed how technology has had a detrimental effect on student writing skills. They no longer think and articulate their own ideas, but instead they just copy someone else’s. They do not need to learn spelling and grammar, as their word processor does that for them. They never draft and revise their papers, because with the computer they can edit as they write. The first draft of their paper, updated as it is written, is the last.
“Students today are a product of an instant-gratification society. Writing a quality paper takes time, and most teenagers are not willing to make that sacrifice. Technology has become a way for students to cheat—to bypass hard work and cut right to the end result.” He goes on to say without the imaginative and self-reflective process of pre-writing and brainstorming, a command of the English language and the creative writing process can be lost.
There are those in the Lord’s church who would like to do the same spiritually. Let the preacher and Bible class teachers do the studying of the word. Let others do the work and give of their time and resources. We reflect society in offering as little effort as possible, but we want the maximum return in the end. How many Christians are truly willing to make the sacrifice to be what God wants His people to be? God, however, is not pleased with those who want the easy way out. “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service” (Rom. 12:1). “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25). Clearly, God wants us to offer our best, as He has done for us. Jesus did not take the easy way out for our salvation, nor can we. What does it say of our commitment, our love, and our respect for Him? Interesting how we can find time for anything that appeals to us, but take shortcuts when it comes to our faith. No wonder a knowledge of Scripture is lacking, service in the kingdom deficient, and many missing altogether.
While it is gratifying to serve the Lord, there is no instant gratification in the Lord’s kingdom. It takes dedication and service to “attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). There are no shortcuts. But for those willing to make the sacrifice, the joy of the Lord awaits, along with the crown of eternal life. May we have the attitude of the apostle Paul, and be able to say of our lives, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”