In the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Henry Turner is on the hunt for the treasure that will release his father and the Flying Dutchman from its curse. While chasing another ship, Henry’s ship sails into the Devil’s Triangle where his entire crew is slaughtered by Captain Salazar, leaving Henry as the only survivor. In a brutal battle to locate this treasure, Henry does not give up. With the help of Jack Sparrow and a few others, they find the treasure that releases the cursed ship, reuniting Henry with his father. The sacrifice of the treasure releases us from the curse.
Many of us are good at sacrificing our time; we come early to serve and we stay late to break down. We are also faithful at using our God-given talents to serve others. But what about our treasure? We freely give our time and our talents, yet there is something about treasure that we like to hold on to, as if it’s ours. As we fight to hoard, God whispers let go.
Faith requires sacrifice.
For God so loved the world that He gave.
The true meaning of sacrifice is found in Jesus Christ. That day on the cross, Jesus did something that didn’t make sense in the natural. He took our place, and although He knew He was destined for it, it was no easy feat. From His remove this cup from me prayer on Mount of Olives, to Father I entrust my Spirit into your hands (His final words), a shift takes place.
I believe that we too experienced a shift. When Pastor Marco presented us with the mantle of sacrifice a few Sundays ago, many of us were hesitant to pick it up. Reluctance and fear filled the air as we heard the words, “let’s make a huge statement of faith.” HUUUUGE!
As each vision Sunday unfolded, God began releasing his power on the church in a fresh new way, and miracles began to happen. As I walked through the sanctuary doors this Sunday, there was freedom in the air, and a new normal was birthed. With great faith, we boldly released our treasure at the altar breaking the curse of poverty over our city. Hearts that were once reluctant gave from a place of joy. In a matter of minutes there was a freedom that fell over New Bedford. Our giving may not make sense to others, and it may challenge the framework of our culture, but more than anything it is a statement of faith – a legacy left for generations to follow.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us.”
– 1 Chronicles 29:14
We don’t give because we have to-we do it because He first gave. We give because, at the end of the day, it’s all His. And, most importantly, we give because it is more blessed to give than to receive. We know what it’s like to receive God’s love every day. And in our giving, we are sowing into the lives that will come to know this love at 4 Wright Street.