Actors make a lot of sacrifices for their craft – sleep, social life, financial security, celebrating birthdays, even life and limb (due to paper cuts from stuffing headshots and resumes into 9-by-12 envelopes for talent agency submissions). Others lose or gain weight for a role. Tom Hanks gained and lost weight multiple times for various movie roles. At the age of 57, he was diagnosed with type II diabetes, and doctors have speculated that his extreme weight fluctuations as he prepared for roles could have played a role in his diagnosis.
Come on. What other professions do people sacrifice like this for? Only actors. It's crazy, and it's why we are often seen as the opposite of people.
But these are the sacrifices in order to get and keep the job. Never do we assume we will sacrifice in order to never get the job in the first place.
Except for me.
I worked as the director of the children's ministry at our church for about seven years. My boss allowed me to audition for roles as long as they didn't interfere with my work at the church. Once while on staff, I auditioned for a commercial for a national gas station chain. I received a call back but was surprised to find out that the callback was the next day in Austin, which was four hours away. The trouble was I was taking the children's ministry staff and volunteer team to attend a children ministry conference the next day as well. Several volunteers on my team had taken off work, and others had found babysitters. I mentally rolled over my options – I could leave halfway through the conference and ask my team to take notes for me while I headed to Austin. Or I could stay for the entire conference and miss the callback.
I wanted to go to this callback. But what would it communicate about how I valued my team and their time, if I, their leader, decided to leave? It would be best to stay, right? But who turns down a callback for a commercial and the possibility of a large paycheck? That's like the opposite of people. Surely my staff would understand and encourage me to go?
Deep down, I knew the right decision was to stay. But just in case, I wanted God to give me a clear answer. I fasted from coffee the next morning and asked God to tell me through His Word what He wanted me to do. I came to Proverbs 8 that speaks of the blessings of wisdom and how important it is to exercise it. As I read, God confirmed He wanted me to stay the length of the conference and forgo the callback.
I wasn't happy about the sacrifice, and neither was my agent, who thought I was crazy and, again, the opposite of people. But I knew I needed to obey.
In my opinion, our obedience is not just one way we evidence our faith, I think it's the evidence of our faith.
We don't just make God famous by our words and what we say but by the living out of our faith regardless of what it costs us. God asks for our obedience despite the sacrifice.
As believers, God is always asking us to obey Him in some way. Obedience could be defined as something we don't want to do that we know we should do and we decide to do. It is literally leaving behind self for the sake of God. Obedience is probably one of the strongest ways we can show our allegiance to Him. And dying to me means living for Him, which glorifies His name. But this is hard, isn't it? Maybe God is asking you to obey and walk boldly and differently at work when all you want to do is blend in. Maybe you're not married, and God is asking you to stay away from sex when everyone else is pushing you toward it. Maybe God is asking you to forgive that person, again.
He asks for our obedience despite the sacrifice. I discipline myself into obedience. Obedience shows our character, and it glorifies God. Theologian W. H. Griffith Thomas said, "Life is a succession of tests, for character is only possible through discipline."
God isn't interested in our comfort as much as He is our character. So He will allow things to happen to us – even bring situations before us – that cause us to lean more into and look more like Him. Will we respond in obedience despite the sacrifice?