“I will rejoice even if lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want you to share that joy.” Phil. 2:17
Both Jews and pagans alike poured out wine on sacrifices or at the base of the altar in honor of the deity. After Paul met Christ, his entire life became an offering to God. As he ministered the good news of the gospel, he was beaten, put in prison, stoned, shipwrecked, and whipped. It reminded me of a Gaither song about Mary anointing Jesus with precious oil from an alabaster jar. “Broken and spilled out and laid at Your feet. In sweet abandon, let me be broken and spilled out for Thee.” Each time Paul faced cruelty and trauma, I think he had this same attitude that Mary had as she anointed Jesus.
He sacrificed the claim on his own life to faithfully introduce sinners to the love of God expressed through the death of Jesus. He did not count the cost as insignificant. This was the liquid poured out on the altar. As Jesus was sacrificed as the Passover lamb to take away the sin Satan introduced into God’ perfect garden, Paul realized his freedom from sin as he claimed this truth. He poured out his life so that others held in the bondage of sin could be freed to be part of God’ family. God gave him the desire and the power to be a sacrifice.
As converts saw Paul faithfully live out this truth, they had the courage, strength, and power to also become living sacrifices. Know what is so amazing? As they lived their lives being faithful and as they served, they experienced the same joy Paul talked about in the verse.
How loving and faithful You are. Forgive me for the times I am such a slow learner. You have spelled out Your plan and purpose, and then provided stories of people that chose to follow You. I can look into their lives and service and understand the joy in serving and being a living sacrifice. Provide me the courage and wisdom to serve. Amen.