Yesterday morning, I left the warmth of my bed at 4:45 AM, went without breakfast, drove 17 minutes, walked out in the 23 degree weather, and sat in a tree. Why would I put myself through this? I am after a reward. My reward is a whitetail deer. In case you wonder how cold 23 degrees is, just know that my bottle of water froze while I was sitting outside.
The first time I went after a whitetail deer, I harvested one in 50 degree weather, in the afternoon, with less than an hour of waiting. A friend of mine said to me, “Don’t think that it will always be this easy, because it won’t.” He was correct. Hunting deer requires sacrifice. For those that enjoy it, it’s well worth the sacrifice.
It seems that most things in life that are worth much, also require sacrifice. A healthy retirement requires years of saving money. A successful marriage requires thinking of your spouse’s needs before your own. Most successful companies started off with the founder contributing huge amounts of time and money to get it off the ground.
In the same way, a life that brings glory to God requires sacrifice. We must not think of ourselves, but others. We cannot long for the pleasures of this world, but the pleasures of God.
When I finally harvest a deer, and think back on what led to it, I do not think of the sacrifice, but the reward. So also with our spiritual walk. We do not regret giving up the pleasures of the flesh. We do not wish that we had thought of ourselves more. After all, our greatest pleasure is found in treasuring the things of God.