This devotional is sponsored by our friends at Beaver County Auto
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12: 1 (NIV)
During Labor Day weekend our daughter got married. So many folks have asked, since I’m a preacher, “did you give her away?” Of course I gave her away.
“And how was that?” I am asked.
I don’t let go easily. Especially where it comes to my family, children. But in these past few years God has done a work on my heart, working so I am trusting him in deeper ways, relating to him in deeper ways, walking with him in deeper ways. So…it was the most joyful and meaningful of “letting go’s” I’ve had!
A significant part of my letting go, however, involved an understanding. Most of us think we are giving the bride away to her husband. But I was simply continuing a process that starts when we leave our child in a preschool room, put our child on a bus, send our child on a first sleepover: giving her to God. Once in God’s hands, she and husband have God’s 24 hour provision and guidance, something I never could give on my best day.
Giving her/them to God is not functional—as in, now he’ll make sure that she gets to work on time. Nor is giving her/them to God any kind of guarantee—as in, she’ll never suffer, and will always be kept safe. Nor is giving her/them to God a form of servitude—as in, she must now serve him no matter what.
Meanwhile, giving her/them to God is also an act of worship. In the Scripture for their wedding, the preacher told the story of a paralyzed man’s friends finding a way to get the man to Jesus—even though they did so by removing part of the roof the house Jesus was standing in and lowering him down. His charge to this couple: “bring people to Jesus.”
Giving ourselves to God is meant to be relational. That is, the goal of walking with God is union with Christ, with God, with the Spirit. Everything that matters in our faith journey grows out of, walking with God in a daily relationship on a daily journey. So, Jesus would call people to himself with the simple words, “follow me.” In the New Testament, Christians were called “followers of the way.” A way, a relationship, a path, a journey, union with Christ.
God gave his son away, so that we can have the greatest relationship in the world. I pray this coming year that his presence and joy are yours.
Jeff Arnold is the senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Beaver, PA. He lives with his wife Karen in Beaver, PA. They have three grown children.
First Presbyterian Church is an Evangelical Presbyterian Church located in Beaver, PA. They have four worship services on campus, two that are more traditional and two that are more blended contemporary. They have active ministries for all ages.