By Paul Borthwick
Paul is a leading mission speaker and senior consultant for Development Associates International. He is also a leader in the GMMI network.
#2: THE SCRIPTURES REVEAL God’s Sacrificial Heart:
“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)
These words, uttered by Jesus on the cross, reflect God’s willingness to go to great lengths to win back lost people.
The theme echoes across all of Scripture: God loves us so much that he comes and pays the price for the sins that we ourselves have committed (Isaiah 53:6).
The question tells us that Jesus suffered separation, loneliness, and pain so that he might make it possible for us to come back to God (I John 4:10).
The question reflects God’s sacrificial heart; he loved us so much that he gave his one and only son, so that “he who knew no sin would become sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (II Corinthians 5:21)
When we understand this sacrifice for our sins, God’s love “compels us” (II Corinthians 5:14) to sacrifice ourselves in order to reach others. We’ll be willing to be inconvenienced so that others can know the love of the God who gave himself for them.
His sacrifice stirs us so that we no longer live for ourselves “but for him who died for us and was raised again.” (II Corinthians 5:15)
God’s sacrificial heart motivates incarnational ministry. As Jesus left his comfort zone to serve us by his death on the cross (Philippians 2:5-11), we in turn leave ours – to get the message of Christ’s love out.
It is God’s sacrificial heart reproduced in us which motivates a doctor to give up a lucrative career in plastic surgery to do cleft palate surgery in Zambia.
It is God’s sacrificial heart at work in Beth that stirs her ministry with HIV/AIDS patients. It is understanding God’s sacrificial heart that called Bruce and Karen to dedicate their lives to urban gang members.
It is God’s sacrificial heart that led Vivian to become a foster mother.
Look into the motivation of Christian refugee camp workers, Christian street workers in Calcutta, or generous people giving away large amounts of their economic wealth to Christian ministry, and you’ll almost always find God’s sacrificial heart being reproduced in his children.
When we understand God’s sacrificial heart, we build our foundation for the sacrifices needed to do the work in the world of evangelism, mercy ministries, and cross-cultural outreach.