It was taught as a summer lesson, but would make a great Easter lesson!!!
What’s In Your Basket?
This time of year, we think about baskets full of crisp apples, or fresh vegetables from the garden.
Deut. 26:4 “And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God.”
If the Lord were to take your basket from your hands, what would he find in it?
Exodus 29:3, Lev. 8:31
Baskets were used to carry some of the sacrifices to church. There was one basic type of basket used for many things. Large, round and shallow.
Romans 12:1-2 talks about what needs to be in our basket of sacrifice. What have we to bring to the altar?
A Sacrifice on the Altar
True Christian service and living must begin with personal dedication to the Lord. The Christian who fails in life is the one who has first failed at the altar, refusing to surrender completely to Christ. King Saul failed at the altar (I Sam. 13:8 and 15:10), and it cost him his kingdom.
Our motive for dedication is love; Paul does not say, “I command you” but “I beseech you, because of what God has already done for you.” We do not serve Christ in order to receive His mercies, because we already have them. We serve Him out of love and appreciation.
True dedication is the presenting of body, mind, and will to God day by day.
Every Christian is either a conformer, living for and like the world, or a transformer, daily becoming more like Christ. II Cor. 3:18 tells us that we are transformed as we allow the Spirit to reveal Christ through the Word of God. It is only when the believer is thus dedicated to God that he can know god’s will for his life. God does not have three wills (good, acceptable, and perfect) for believers in the way that there are three choices for merchandise in the mail order catalogs (good, better, best). Rather, we grow in our appreciation of God’s will. Some Christians obey God because they know that obedience is good for them, and they fear chastening. Others obey because they find God’s will acceptable. But the deepest devotion is in those who love God’s will and find it perfect.
As priests, we are to present “spiritual sacrifices” to God (I Peter 2:5), and the first sacrifice He wants each day is our body, mind, and will in total surrender to Him.
What was in the Lord’s basket of sacrifice? Pain, suffering, blood, hunger, thirst. We can barely stand to look in that basket. It’s more than we can comprehend. The people of Israel had symbolic sacrifices in their basket…bread, wafers, bakery.
What would you pull out of your basket---my basket of sacrifice? Tired bodies, cancelled plans, suffering, unfulfilled dreams, health problems, hurt feeling, wounded spirits? Even though pain and suffering is a reality in our lives at one time or another, our baskets of suffering cannot compare to the Lord Jesus. What does He say about suffering?
It would be difficult for me not to mention my mom here. She was 64 years old, and January 29, 1996 was diagnosed with pancreas cancer. Mom and I were best friends. That day started six months of terrible pain and suffering for her. By July 4, the Lord graciously took her. But it was very difficult for me to watch my mom suffer. Day after day she layed there unable to get out of bed, a woman who had been extremely active all her life. One day near the end I said, “Mom, I wish you didn’t have to suffer so much!” She weakly pointed to herself and said “for the glory of God”. She never once complained, only worried about how her girls would get along without her. It was morally necessary for her to suffer to glorify God in her life. When she was in the hospital, one of her roommates was a well to do lady who also had cancer. It was not terminal, they were doing things to cure it. She said “I deserve better than this.” That really struck me. Who deserved not to suffer more than the Lord Jesus Christ?
b. It is shared just as joy. “And whether on member suffer, all the members suffer”. I Cor 12:26. When things go wrong in the lives of the church family, we are to suffer with them. Suffering is to be shared just as joy. It is harder, but biblical. Moses (Heb. 11:24-26)
c. It is rewarded. II Tim. 2:12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” Rom. 8:17. But not only rewarded later, but now.
Exodus 2:1-10 What was in Moses’ mother’s basket? The thing she most wanted to keep for herself.
What is in your basket of surrender? What are you holding on to that you want to keep for yourself? Don’t you know that God will give it back to you?
Is it time? Is it talent? Is it treasure? Is it success? Is it your children?
Jesus basket of surrender---His will Luke 22:42, His lifestyle (can you imagine the King of Glory), His life (allowing man to take it)
My basket of surrender looks empty as I present it to Jesus.
What will be in your basket of summer fruit? What will you have to present to Jesus?
Find your area of service and be faithful. Is your basket of service empty? There are new opportunities and challenges every day. It takes work to fill our basket of service. We must labor, plant, water, weed, work to yield a basket of summer fruit.
Matt. 14:20 What is in your basket that you can share? There was a special basket with holes in the bottom to sow seed. Do you spread kind words, smiles, encouragement, meals, to be multiplied by Jesus? Do you share yourself?
Let’s look at John 6 and see what God can do with our supply.
What is in God’s basket of supply? Phil. 4:19 God so freely shares with us, let’s share with others from our basket whether it be the gospel, a meal, a smile, and word of encouragement, or cold hard cash!