Everything worthwhile is uphill, meaning that it is going to take some effort & determination to get where you want to be, as well as become who you want to become. I’ve been saying this for a while now, but the more I think about it, the more I know it’s true. Whether you’re talking about personal growth, personal health, business or another aspect of life, nothing of value is easy. The precious things in life require something in exchange.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
It is not hard to understand that great things come with sacrifice. But often, we do not think of that sacrifice as giving up something we love or like – in order to gain something GREAT! We tend to think that we would be willing to sacrifice – if needed, but I personally tend to imagine that sacrifice being something easy for me to give up… because I think that the purpose behind the sacrifice will mean more than what I am giving up. I don’t know if this is a common thought process, but WHY DO I EVEN THINK THAT?!? Why would we think that sacrifice could ever be easy!?! Anytime I have had to make a sacrifice – the meaning behind the sacrifice NEVER made me feel good about what I was GIVING UP.
The thing I am striving to learn at the moment is not simply making hard decisions — But learning to make the hard decisions when they need to be made.
Here are a few examples of biblical leaders who gave up – to go up:
1) Gave up everything comfortable – for the unknown.
Noah chose to trust God’s plan, he ended up sacrificing his reputation to build an ark (a huge boat). People in his time had never experienced a flood of any kind, but because he was led by God to do this, he chose to submit to it – those around him even questioned his mental health. He gave up anything he was previously doing, any dreams, goals, plans, or personal calling & chose to follow Gods plan – over what seemed rational. Because of his choice to give up his way, his plans, or what seemed to make sense for Gods plan, his family was saved & Noah not only became closer with God in the process – but God used Noah’s family to flood & repopulate the earth from his family line.
2) Gave up his freedom, family, comfort & his place as the favorite child – for what seemed very dark.
The life of Joseph is very interesting when you think of all the stages of development & internal training that he endured. Most leaders naturally believe that God wants to use you in great ways, but what if the way God wants to train you & develop you through hard times? God will use all the people you experience & every circumstance, whether these seem good or bad – to help develop you into the person God created you to be. Because of all the things he went through, slavery, rejection, imprisonment, wrongful accusations, & all the sacrifices, Joseph was able to discover that God was not only with him in every season & trial, but he also was able to learn that in all things God has a plan. Through it all, God trained Joseph to be a great leader & he eventually became the second-in-command over all of Egypt.
3) Gave up his life to accomplish a plan – that would kill Him.
Jesus was born & raised in a low income & seemingly normal home. Besides the fact that his mom was pregnant outside of marriage, & his step-father was a man who would be considered a blue-collar worker. They were a family, who from afar did not seem that different from other Jewish families around them. However there was a big difference, inside of there family structure, they were raising & housing the son of God. Jesus had a choice in all that He did, He was not bound to the plan of God. Much like us, we have a choice in what we do every day. From the time Jesus was little, He was focused on Gods plan, & while you would think that Jesus would be anxious to tell the world about who God is… Jesus was more concerned about becoming who God had created Him to be. He was not famous or highly paid, Jesus did not eventually get a huge backing of people behind Him. After 29 years of preparation, trials, & who knows how many lessons – in His 30th year, Jesus was finally released to do ministry on a large scale. Looking back, we only know about 12 people who wanted to live for God in the same way He did… well 11. & in the end, Jesus decided to lay down His life & be tortured, so that we could experience not only eternal life – but an eternal connection with God. It was not a convenient journey or life… & yet all we hear about is how much we are loved & chosen because of his choice to give up – we all get to go up!
The point is that great leadership comes at a great price.
Jentzen Franklin posted a quote – as I was writing this, that encouraged me through what I have faced in life, but it also challenged me to push forward into what God has ahead of me…
THE GREATER THE BATTLE – THE GREATER THE VICTORY.
How did they do it? Is an easy question to think of when you see someone who is greatly successful. But rarely do we think to ask, WHAT PRICE DID THEY PAY TO GET THERE? On the outside, we see the fruit of the price that was paid & we want that success… but the question I want to ask you is – ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY THE SAME PRICE TO GET THERE?
GREATNESS DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN, GREATNESS IS CULTIVATED THROUGH SACRIFICE!