I saw a YouTube video the other day where a guy was discussing a worship leader of a large church who had decided to leave the church and walk away from God. The YouTube guy was talking about something called a “Transaction model” of faith. I had never heard of that so I thought I would take a dive into it.

The Transaction Model is basically a “what’s in it for me” thing. My Dad used to call that “WIIFM” (pronounced wiffum). If I give God my time, my money, my life, “What’s in it for me?” That He will bless me and my life will be wonderful. That sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Too bad it ain’t truth!

Scripture tells us that we will suffer for Him. We will be persecuted for Him. Beyond that, Jesus said that blessings come from the persecution, from the suffering.

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”
(Mark 10:29-30)

These words of Jesus are so encouraging! But we need to read the end of the passage as well as the beginning. Does the Bible teach that we are blessed when we sacrifice our comfort, our time, our lives for Him? Yes! But the blessings will be accompanied by persecution! Yes, Jesus promised blessing, but he also promised persecutions. And I might add, that the persecution is plural!

When we made the decision to go to Nigeria, we faced a lot of things. Many were so much more challenging than just selling or giving away our combined lifetime’s worth of accumulated stuff as well as the logistical issues of what to do with our house, cars, and other worldly “assets”. There was also the added heartbreak of re-homing our much loved doggos and kitty cat and the agonized reaction of frightened and angry family members and friends who did not understand why on earth we would want to go to Nigeria, of all places! Making the decision to go was so much easier than the actual going. As we walked out our faith, putting action to the words we spoke to God when we turned our lives over to Him, many well meaning friends offered the above passage from Mark chapter 10. I’m pretty sure they meant only to encourage, and I love the promise in those verses, but there is so much more to surrender than the promise of blessing! Our surrender to God’s will can never be dependent on His response. He can bless us if He chooses to do so, but He certainly doesn’t have to! He already gave us more than we could ever hope to deserve. When I surrendered to His sacrifice, I pledged my entire life, no matter what! We went to Nigeria because God called us there not because He promised us good stuff in exchange for our obedience. The essence of my being lives to please Him.

So many people get mad at God because their life is hard. They think that, because they have given their life to God, He somehow owes them something and when things don’t go the way they think they should, they get mad and walk away. They forget that He has already given them everything!

My life is only valuable because He made it so. I can NEVER be good enough. I can NEVER do anything to earn or deserve His blessing. I am accepted because I recognize that I am unacceptable and accept that only He can make me acceptable.

The only transaction I need is His death for my life. He owes me nothing. I owe Him everything.

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