At my last congregation on Sunday mornings, there were two services. The services were very similar, except that one was at 8:30, and the other started at 10:30, with a Bible class period in between. Other differences included the fact that the first service was generally attended by a slightly more “aged” group, and there were fewer attendees. Because of these differences, it was difficult to find people willing to wake up early on a Sunday morning and participate in the service by leading prayers, songs, or communion. 
Young men often desired to lead songs for the second assembly. However, the unwritten policy was that to lead at the second service, you must first lead at the early service. You can imagine how many people would flat-out refuse this request. I’ve heard every excuse feasible for why they were unable to serve in that capacity. It produced one of my favorite sayings, “There’s no service without sacrifice.”  
Many Christians do not understand this principle. You must be willing to give up a part of your life, a piece of yourself if you are going to serve others. If you are merely skating by and taking the easiest path possible, I guarantee you are missing the point. Reflect with me on this parable of Jesus.
Luke 14:15-24 – “When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.”
There are 1001 excuses to avoid serving others. There are 1001 excuses not to place Jesus as the most important person in your life. Not a single excuse presented in the parable was “bad,” they all had merit and were at least plausible. I have avoided some social situations with less impressive reasoning. Yet, Jesus’ prescribed sentiment is that the excuse-makers will not participate in the party. Relegating the things of Jesus to secondary matters does not please him.
I have met plenty of people who want to serve in the church, but they always want to serve on their terms. They want to participate when it is convenient for their lifestyle and directions. I am not suggesting that you check every box or perform every function to be considered a follower of Christ that nullifies the goodness of the gospel. However, if your Christian walk requires no sacrifice, how quickly will you turn away when actual persecutions come (Matthew 13:20-21)? I suggest that a life devoid of sacrifice is an indicator of your heart, and if you want to be a Christian without sacrifice, then you should reread the life of the person you are following.
Immediately following the passage about the great feast, Jesus provides this instruction.
Luke 14:27 – “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
Make a list; what are you willing to give up following Jesus? Friends, family, wealth, time, energy, health… Now, find the very last thing on your list; that is what we must sacrifice if we are going to put Jesus first in our lives. It might seem inconsequential, but what is the difference between waking up at 7:30 and 8:30 on a Sunday morning… it isn’t much, but if we are just working Jesus into our schedule… who is the Master, and who is the servant? There is no service without sacrifice. 

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