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But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

1 Samuel 15:22

Sacrifices. We make them daily — getting up early to drive the children to school for an activity, assisting a colleague with a difficult assignment, taking time to listen to a hurting friend. Yet it’s evident from Samuel’s words to King Saul that making sacrifices is not enough.

Saul brought the proper sacrifices to the Lord, but something was missing — his obedience. God had given him an assignment to do that he only did halfway. In addition to his failure to follow God’s directive, instead of waiting for Samuel to offer the sacrifices, Saul decided to do it himself. As Samuel reminded Saul and the people of Israel, complete obedience is better than any sacrifice we can offer.

No matter what we’re sacrificing, God wants our heart. He wants our obedience. What’s your schedule like? Do you sacrifice your time, your energy, maybe even your family, in order to do ministry, leaving precious little time for other important matters?

Hit the pause button on your schedule. Take time to truly listen to God. Instead of frantically changing lanes on the way to the office or doing errands, get in the slow lane and spend that extra time praying to God. Intentionally get in the longer lines at the grocery store so you can offer him thanks for his provisions.

You can wear yourself out serving God and miss out on what he desires most: your obedience, love and worship.

Heavenly Father, I am willing to sacrifice …
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