Summary: Obedience always requires sacrifice.
In a Psychology Today article called, “The Myth of Multitasking,” Dr. Nancy Napier shares a test delivered by the Potential Project, a group based out of Denmark that proves that multitasking, the idea that we can focus on two things at the same time, is a myth. I am going to time you as you carry out the following tasks: 1) On the first line, write: I am a great multitasker; 2) On the second line: write out the numbers 1-20 sequentially. How much time did that take? Usually, about 20 seconds. Now, let’s multitask. Write a letter, then a number, then the next letter, then the next number, changing from line to line. In other words, write the letter “I” and then the number “1” and then the letter “a” and then the number “2”, until you complete both lines.
Your time will double from the first round. You may have made errors and were frustrated since you had to “rethink” what the next letter would be and then the next number. What you’re doing is, “switch-tasking,” not multitasking. Multitasking is a myth. We can only focus on one thing at a time. When we try to multitask, we waste time, make mistakes and become frustrated.
“Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” - James 1:8 (NIV)
Now, what is true of us in the natural, is also true in the supernatural.
Salvation was provided for all through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead. But to be saved, we must repent, that is, “turn around.” Specifically, we must sacrifice living for sin and choose instead to live for the Savior. Once that choice is made, God’s Spirit goes to work to enable me to live a life that pleases the Savior. But before the Spirit can change our hearts, we have to make our choice. We have to sacrifice a life of sin for a life with the Savior. This principle is also true as we continue to grow as a follower of Christ.
We began this series talking about the illustration of the disciple’s cross. We said there are four disciplines God calls us to if we are going to “take up our cross” and follow Him as His disciple; and each one requires some sort of sacrifice. For instance, we can’t talk to God in prayer or hear Him through His Word and watch TV at the same time. Multitasking is a myth. We can’t fellowship with God’s people and also be somewhere else. To be here today, you had to sacrifice being somewhere else. Multitasking is a myth.
We also can’t give our tithe and spend all our money on ourselves. If I give at least 10% to God’s work through His church, I can’t spend that same 10% of my income on something else. I have to say “no” to something in order to say “yes” to God. Multitasking is a myth.
One man told me how he and his wife had tried tithing, but that it just didn’t work for them. I asked him what they were doing. He
explained, “We write out our tithe check the very first thing. Then we tape it to our refrigerator so we won’t forget it. But every time we come to the end of the month, we don’t have enough money in the bank to make the check good, so we end up not giving it.”
He was trying to obey God without sacrifice; and that’s impossible. Multitasking is a myth. Or as Jesus put it: “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
David sinned by taking a census of his fighting men. He wanted to know how large his army was. His sin was pride. He committed the sin of Deuteronomy 8:17: “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” And, since he was focused on himself, rather than God, he ignored God’s Word about conducting a census:
“Whenever you take a census of the people of Israel, each man who is counted must pay a ransom for himself to the Lord. Then no plague will strike the people as you count them. Each person who is counted must give a small piece of silver as a sacred offering to the Lord.” - Exodus 30:12 (NLT)
Because things weren’t done God’s way, a curse came upon the people. God struck them with a plague, no doubt, partly to teach David and the people that what God has given you, He can easily take away.
When David realize his sin, he confessed it and was instructed as to what he was to do. He was to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. In verse 24, David declares what we’ve been talking about, the principle of sacrifice: We can’t obey God without sacrificing something. Obedience costs. Why? Because . . .