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Surrender Is Different Than Sacrifice

God doesn’t need your money. I say that often at our church, because it’s a truth that may be easy to get, but is just as easy to forget. We pastors often plead with our people to give, painting a picture of God as if he were coming to us, hat in hand, begging for “just a little more, please.” As if God were short on cash and really needed us to bankroll him.

Not only does this reflect a faulty view of God (who reminds us that if he did need money, he wouldn’t come to us [Psalm 50:12]), but it creates a rut for Christians. When we give because “God needs it,” we toggle between guilt and anger. If we aren’t giving, we feel guilty about it. If we are giving, we’re secretly a little upset that God keeps pestering us about “our” stuff.

Beneath all of this frustration, I’ve noticed a key misunderstanding: When it comes to giving, we would rather pursue sacrifice and obedience than what God actually requires—surrender.

Surrender starts with the realization that everything we have isn’t actually ours at all. Surrender, you see, is different than sacrifice. You can make big sacrifices and still be in control. And surrender is different than obedience. You can obey a lot of the laws of God and not be surrendered.

Aren’t many of us like that? We’re “good Christians,” active in church, big givers … but there is something that we’d rather God not ask us about. As long as some aspect of our life is a locked door to God—no matter how big or small—we aren’t surrendered.

Surrender is a blank check, without restrictions. It’s us telling God, “All I have, all I am, all I ever hope to be—I offer to you.” It’s like a dye that bleeds through everything in our lives. It affects our obedience; it affects our sacrifice; but it’s deeper than both.

Think of it like this: If you have eggs and bacon for breakfast, both the chicken and the pig contributed. The chicken may have made a sacrifice … but the pig? The pig was fully surrendered.