November 22

Hebrews 13:15-17 15Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

The great sacrifice that was pleasing to God has already been offered, but we can still bring a sacrifice of praise. It is not a sacrifice for us unless it comes from difficulty. Difficulty is common in the Christian life, but praise should be just as common. The difficulties refine us and prepare us for eternity. We can always praise God in the difficulty because He is our sufficiency. He meets every need, and sees us through every trial. Each one should strengthen us. Sometimes the praise alone is enough to lift our hearts to victory.

Another sacrifice that the writer encourages is doing good to others. It usually costs us something to do good and share. When we do it as unto the Lord, it is a sweet smelling sacrifice to Him. Do you want to do something to put a smile on God's face? Bring a sacrifice of praise or of doing good and sharing.

Verse 17 is rarely uttered by a humble leader to his own flock, but by a shepherd to another fold such as the case here. Your pastor most likely will not tell you to stop making His work such a pain or to submit to your God appointed authority, but let us hear it from the writer of Hebrews. It is not good for either of you when you are a burden by constant criticism or insistence on your personal preferences. Be a joy not a pain!

Meditation: Your praise, good deeds, and sharing can be a sacrifice to God. Be a joy to your elders, not a pain.