“Then the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver” (2 Samuel 24:24).
ANY LOVE THAT WILL NOT MAKE A SACRIFICE FOR THE BELOVED IS NOT TRUE LOVE. By its very nature, love is giving, and the higher the quality of the love, the more costly a sacrifice the lover is willing to make as a gift. In the direst need, love would give all that one had to give, even to the extent of life itself (John 15:13).
When King David found himself needing to make a burnt offering to the Lord, beseeching His favor on behalf of the people of Jerusalem, Araunah offered to donate the offering necessary for the sacrifice. “No,” said David, “but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which cost me nothing.” David apparently understood that a sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it is a . . . sacrifice.
Today, we are often tempted to do what David refused to do: give the Lord that which cost us nothing (or very little). Many of us live in lands of abundance. When it comes to money, we can give sums of money to the Lord’s work that seem large but which represent no real sacrifice on our part. We can give and still have plenty left over. But the giving of money is only the tip of this subject’s iceberg. Whether it is time, energy, allegiance, or whatever, we often seem willing to give only that which is easy to give.
We need to learn the principle of sacrifice and acquaint ourselves with the value of giving things to the Lord even when we can hardly see any way to survive without them. And when the magnitude of what we’ve given begins to weigh heavily upon us, we need to remember the love that motivated our sacrifice, knowing that it is “a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) whom the Lord loves.
So if the value of what we’ve given up for the Lord is any indication, how much can we say we love Him? We’re not talking about works righteousness here; we’re talking about love. And even among those whom we love in this world, how much love is indicated by the costliness of what we’ve given up for them?
“The value of a thing sometimes lies not in what one attains with it, but in what one pays for it — what it costs us” (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche).