A man touring a rural area of the Far East saw a boy pulling a crude plow while an old man held the handles and guided it through the rice paddy. The visitor commented, “I suppose they are poor.”

“Yes,” said his guide. “When their church was built, they wanted to give something to help but they had no money. So they sold their only ox. This spring they are pulling the plow themselves.” The tourist was deeply challenged by their sacrificial gift.

Under Old Testament law, God required animal sacrifices, which pointed to Christ dying for our sins. His death brought them to an end, but the Lord still desires to receive spiritual sacrifices from His people.

God puts no merit in any attempts to earn His favor or call attention to oneself. But He delights in deeds that spring from faith that works through love (Gal. 5:6). They are spiritual sacrifices that come from giving ourselves completely to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). He is pleased when we continually give thanks in Jesus’ name, do good, and share with others (Heb. 13:15-16).

Some spiritual sacrifices will be costly. But what is gained—His praise—is always greater than what is given up.