Sunday, January 15, 2017

Obedience Versus Sacrifice

by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee

Sometimes it is difficult to know if you should let something go, like a job, or a volunteer position. It’s hard to discern if we are feeling God’s nudge, or our own emotions. As writers, most of us have other jobs to make a living, and our writing comes second to the job. But it also often gets pushed back on the to-do list because of our many other commitments.

A few years ago I worked as a care assistant for an elderly neighbor.

It was my one paying job in my eclectic work-from-home-life.  It only took an hour or so of my day, but I felt a pressing in my spirit to stop working.

There was a restlessness in me. The joy of the job waned, and I really felt God was nudging me to trust Him and let go. It was a hard decision because this involved helping someone in need, yet I knew I had to quit that job out of obedience to God.

It’s hard to put obedience and sacrifice in perspective.

As Christians, we hold the mind-set that we must sacrifice to please God. Doesn’t God want me to sacrifice my time and talents for others in need? The answer is yes, unless He is calling me to something else.

This scripture puts obedience and sacrifice in perspective:
Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as he delights in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams (1Samuel 15:22).

To obey is better than sacrifice.

After letting go of my job, I discovered peace, joy, and productivity. I found that typing on this laptop for hours, writing about faith, was my passion. I felt guilty enjoying my work so much. But I knew I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I had obeyed God, and he opened up some other financial blessings.

Sometimes obedience doesn’t make worldly sense.

The job I quit was my one small pay check I got twice a month. My neighbor needed my help. But God is greater than any pay check and any need.

I had to trust Him for my life and for hers.

I’ve discovered that God’s call (99% of the time) does not make sense from our worldly perspective. But I’ve found time and time again that when I’m restless–stressed, frustrated, too busy, and irritable, I need to sit and listen to the One who is trying to show me the better way.

I love this quote from one of my favorite saints, Corrie Ten Boom:

“If the devil can’t make us bad, he’ll make us busy.”

Do you have time to be with God?

Are you able to do the things that you are passionate about or are you too busy? I believe God gave you that passion and gifting for an eternal purpose. It might not be for money, but it is definitely for The Kingdom.

Has God been nudging you to let something go?

Can you trust Him?


There’s an old hymn we sang in our tiny Methodist church almost every Sunday. I can still hear my momma’s nimble hands hit each chord and Louise Morton’s slightly pitchy yet heart-felt soprano carry the melody. The chorus was this:

Trust and obey, for there is no other way,

To be happy in Jesu-u-u-u-u-s-s-s-s, but to trust and obey.  (John H. Sammis)

(If you have time, click on John’s name to read the entire hymn.)

I can’t think of a better way to end this post than with a prayer. Grab my hand.

“Dear God, thank you for nudging us. Thank you for keeping us restless until we’ve finally surrendered to your wisdom. I pray for ears to hear and hearts to respond. I pray for greater measures of faith to obey rather than sacrifice. Holy Spirit empower us to let go and trust you with the future. We love you, Jesus. Amen.”


Andy Lee is the author of A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called (Leafwood 2016) and The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study (AMG 2015). She is a Bible teacher, blogger, event speaker, and mom to three grown children and her kitty named Hank. Andy loves to teach people how to dig deep to live fully on her website, and her daily Facebook broadcast, Bite of Bread. Follow her on Facebook and watch at 8:20 each morning EST for soul nourishment.


  1. Great post. Thank you for the reminder. I turned to 1 John 5:3 "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome." He gives us the ability to do what He calls us to. My desire is to listen to Him more intently.

  2. Thank you for your post. Years ago, when my children were small, I was frazzled and fatigued. When I went to the Lord complaining that I did not have enough time to do everything I needed to do, He replied gently, but firmly: “You always have enough time to do what I have called you to do.” I was involved in church ministries to which God had not called me. So I quit them and found joy, peace, and delight in what God had called me to do: take care of my family and write. Blessings to you! :)

  3. Andy, great thoughts. I especially like the Corrie Ten Boom quote. “If the devil can’t make us bad, he’ll make us busy.” Guilty, guilty, guilty! I'm much better than I used to be. And since God wants us to live by faith, I find He often leads us in paths that stretch us.

  4. Love this! I too find I don't have peace when I'm going in the wrong direction. I let go of something this week, I knew God wanted me too, even though I had emotional ties to it.

  5. Today I made a decision to stop my involvement in a Post Abortion Recovery Bible Study and Ministry. I talked with my husband. I had prayed. I have wanted to be in an abortion centered ministry for years and years. Why am I quitting? It's a passion but the joy is not there. I am overwhelmed and somethings need to go. I feel relieved and freer to do what is right in front of me.
    Thank you for your words. They encouraged me!

  6. Beautiful post, Andy. While we're still trying to get settled in our new home, cancer has made it impossible to do many things I would have done otherwise. But, the restrictions have allowed me to spend much more time with the Lord.

  7. Thanks for this reminder and encouragement!