You Want Me To Sacrifice What?

LecturesOnFaithWhen I was reading The Second Comforter for the first time I came to chapter nine where Denver wrote about sacrifice. I read Joseph’s quote from the Lectures on Faith: “Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation…” Most of my readers know the rest.

Sacrifice Required to Develop Faith

“I get it,” I said. “That part’s clear. It always has been. Without sacrifice we can’t know for ourselves that we would do all things required of us. We would harbor some doubt about our own willingness to lay all things upon the altar when we are asked to do so.” The sweet comfort of the spirit confirmed what I already knew. This was a true principle required of all disciples.

It Won’t be Something Easy

I also asked myself, “I wonder what kind of sacrifice the Lord will ask of me?” I sat back for a minute, pondered all the things in my life that I enjoyed and mentally checked each one off the list. They all seemed they would be too easy to give up if I were asked. So for the past two years since I read that book for the first time, I’ve been wondering what the Lord would ask of me.

Reviewing My Daily “To Do” List

Well, I need wonder no more. I found out loud and clear this morning about 7:30am. I had just arrived at my place of employment, looked over my short list of critical items, my longer list of important items and then bowed my head in prayer to ask the Lord if any items on the list needed to be rearranged. Even though it was not unexpected, I was not prepared for what I heard next.

What I heard was, “Tim, it’s time to move on.”

I stopped cold. I stilled my mind. I forgot all thoughts of prioritizing my “to do” list. I took a deep breath. I shook my head from side to side, muttered a little something like, “Wait a minute. Maybe you didn’t hear me. Let me try again.” I looked up at my white board which held my list of projects and tasks, quickly reviewed it in my mind then once again bowed my head in prayer.

My Conversation With The Lord

“Tim, you don’t even need to ask. You heard me. It’s time.”

“Oh, Lord, you can’t mean it. Do you know what this would do to Carol Anne?”

“I know Tim. This will be a test for her too.”

“A terrible test,” I said. “This is her greatest fear – loss of security.”

“I know that.”

“Do you know what my Bishop would say?

“Yes, Tim.”

“Do you know what my Stake President would say?”

“Yes, Tim.”

“You do realize how I’ve fought and struggled all my life to get to where I am now?”

“Yes, Tim. I helped you all the way. Remember?”

“I suppose you realize this goes against all the principles of self-reliance I’ve ever been taught?”

“Of course I do. Nevertheless, it’s time. Please don’t delay any longer. Make it happen.”

Resigning From a Good-Paying Job

For the next hour, amidst tears and many shakes of the head in unbelief, I composed my letter of resignation. At last it was ready. I have resigned many jobs in my life. It’s a natural part of the tech industry, especially early in your career. Sometimes, it’s the only way to move up, get ahead, get a raise or get to work with new technology. That is, by finding a new and better job.

Your Test May Go Against What You’ve Been Taught

But that technique usually works best when you’re young and have nobody depending on you. I am an old man. I am at the pinnacle of my career, well-paid, with a secure job and great benefits. You don’t just walk away from that without some other prospect in mind. It doesn’t make sense. I remember someone asking on Denver’s blog how you would know the request was from God.

—— Beginning of Quote ——-

From Denver Snuffer’s blog, 11 May 2010, under the title, “What lack I yet?” (bold and italics added by me)

I was asked this question:   “Do you know with surety IN ADVANCE of doing some incredibly hard sacrifice that it is the Lord asking it of you, or do you come to know that it is His will AS you do it?”   My response:

You will know with absolute certainty that the request came from the Lord.   The request will be difficult, or a sacrifice.

HOWEVER, whether the person recognizes at the moment or only in hindsight that it was required for them to develop the faith necessary for redemption is not universal.  Some know at the time, some only know in hindsight.  What is absolutely universal is that when the test has been passed, the faith exists.  When it does, it will be enough for redemption and the promise of eternal life.

Joseph knew he had the promise of eternal life (as recorded in D&C 132: 49) before he went to Carthage to die.  He knew he was going to die.  Death was not his great challenge, but the physical ratification of the faith which already existed in him.  The earlier trials had been enough to prove him and put that power within him.  His death was an extension of existing faith and knowledge.

The order of things is established and can be known.  The details of how it unfolds in individual lives will be specific to the individual.  Whether the person realizes the final great test is underway or not will depend on the person.  I did not.  I only came to realize in hindsight what was underway.

——— End of quote ——–

You’ll Know With Absolute Certainty

Denver said we would know with absolute certainty the request came from the Lord. He said it would clearly be a sacrifice. He said some would know in advance, some would not. In my case, I knew with absolute certainty, in advance, this is what the Lord wanted me to do. Let me tell you how I knew because most anyone can present a very convincing argument to the contrary.

How I received My Confirmation

Before I hit the send button on that resignation email at 9am this morning, I paused one more time and bowed my head in prayer. The prayer went something like this:

Making Sure I’m Not Being Deceived

“Oh, Lord, thou hast asked a difficult thing of me. Thou hast said we can know of a certainty that a request for sacrifice like this has come from thee and not from within our own minds or from some other source such as the adversary, trying to convince us to do something to destroy our lives. Oh, Lord, I need to know for a certainty that this is not advice from some modern crackpot.

I Explain the Difficult Circumstances

I continued, “This will affect my family, especially my dear wife. Her greatest fear is lack of security – loss of a job, loss of income and health insurance. If this only affected me, I would have no hesitation, but thou hast said that wives have claim upon their husbands for their maintenance. Wilt thou answer my prayer with a certainty before I do this difficult thing?”

Negative Thoughts Flooded My Mind

I paused. A multitude of thoughts flooded through my mind. All the negative things my readers have said when I have written about Denver Snuffer in my blog came through my mind. I heard the voice of my own dear wife saying to me, “And if Denver asked you to follow him to some far-away place, would you do it?” I heard my response, “Of course not. That would be crazy.”

I Saw Myself Going Through the Trial

And then, for a moment, all was still. It seemed as if eternity hung in the balance. My finger was poised above the Enter key. In my mind’s eye I saw myself going through this trial. I saw from beginning to end how it would go. I knew how long it would take to secure new employment. I knew the heartbreak, the disappointment, the financial struggle, the pain, the sorrow, the tears.

A Job Affects a Man’s Self-Esteem

I had been through it before, several times. There’s nothing worse to destroy a man’s ego than to lose a sense of purpose that comes from his job. Not having a job takes away your identity. It’s who you are. It’s how the world sees you and evaluates your worth. In an instant, I saw I would lose all that, but in the end, I would be a different person, the one the Lord wanted me to be.

All based on a Short Feeling of Peace

A feeling of peace came over me. A sense of destiny returned to my mind. This was clearly one of those moments for which I was sent to this earth. I saw myself as if I was seeing myself from a previous life. It was déjà vu if you believe in that sort of stuff. I pushed the button. The die was cast. I had sealed my fate. I knew what would happen. I knew my resignation would be accepted.

The Adversary Returned To Torment Me

“Now you’ve done it. You’ve gone and done the worst thing you could possibly do to your wife. Do you remember the counsel of your bishop early in your married life when he said, ‘Well, you certainly haven’t given her much reason to trust your judgment or provided her much security.’ She’s going to let you have it. Why, she may even divorce you. How could you do such a thing?”

Dismiss Satan and Don’t Listen to Him

Yep, that’s Satan for you. I dismissed him and went about my work for the day. Within six hours I had my answer. My resignation was courteously accepted but with a little kicker at the end: “How soon can you get your assistant trained to take over all your tasks?” In other words, “Sorry to see you go, but hurry up and get things all squared away so the next guy can do your job.”

Today is My Birthday – Happy Birthday to Me

I was expecting it so I wasn’t hurt, but it just confirmed for me that nobody is irreplaceable. I wonder how long the process of securing new employment will take this time. Last time it was seven months but I was nearly ten years younger. Today is my 57th birthday – Happy birthday to me. I didn’t have to do this. I brought it on myself. I have nobody to blame for this foolishness.

Of My Own Free Will And Choice

Since this is my blog which I sometimes use as my personal journal, let me make it clear for anybody who reads this. I did this of my own free will and choice. Just like I took the covenants in the temple upon me of my own free will and choice, I decided to accept the promptings of the voice of the Lord – or what I believe was the voice of the Lord – to accept this test and sacrifice.

We’ve Gone Through This Before

I only pray my wife will be able to deal with this. Now you may ask, “Why didn’t you talk with her about this before?” Trust me I have, many times. I told her right away today what I had done. I admire her response. She asked, “Do you still want to go out to dinner for your birthday?” I’m sure there were tears, but I only caught a short glimpse of them. We had an enjoyable evening.

Prove To Yourself That You Treasure God

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. We cannot be both spiritual and materialistic. What do you treasure? Sacrifice is a means of proving to yourself and to God that you treasure Him and His above all the things of this world.

Sacrifice Is A Major Purpose of Life

And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming His name, is not trifling with you or me.” Either we believe in sacrifice or we don’t. What you are asked to sacrifice may not be anything like what I was asked to do this morning. Nevertheless, if we are serious about coming unto Christ, you and I must offer obedience and sacrifice as asked.

When The Lord Speaks, Take Action

Even when a hundred arguments could be offered why it’s not the voice of the Lord that was heard, eventually He will ask us for something dear. Sorry folks. I know that voice. I have had too much experience to know that this is what the Lord wants me to do. He wanted me to do it today as a test of faith and an offering of sacrifice of trust in the arm of flesh to trusting Him.

The Lord Will Help Us Through Our Trials

PostScript: I’m not out of a job yet. It could be months before my replacement is trained. In the meantime, I know from past experience how to market my skills and find out who is hiring. I know what it’s like to lose a job unexpectedly. This is different. It is something the Lord asked me to do voluntarily. I simply do not know why yet. I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out.

28 comments for “You Want Me To Sacrifice What?

  1. February 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Good luck, Tim, and Happy Birthday. I admire your faith and commitment.

  2. ElectOfGod
    February 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    This has been on my mind as well a lot lately. Good luck and God is with you :).

    A post on Sacrifice.
    http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/05/same-is-required-of-all.html

    • February 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      It fits. It goes against everything I have been taught about being self-reliant, securing something better or equal before moving on, and of providing security and stability to your eternal companion. Yet I knew and could not doubt that the request came from the Lord. My only concern is not discussing this SPECIFIC instance with my wife in advance. We have discussed the principle in generalities in the past.

      I knew not involving her in the final decision would hurt and would cause friction and disharmony for a few days in our relationship. But again, that is what the Lord asked of me. Trust me, I asked twice. I don’t ask more than that for fear of offending the Lord. He knew this would also be a test for her as I shared in the prayer dialog above.

  3. February 20, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Wow Tim. I’ve been reading Approaching Zion so I’m reading your post in a whole different light now. We’re all so married to the world and its economy and we have our thousand reasons why we can’t fully live the law of consecration, including mine, “Well, don’t we have to find some other people to do it with?” Still seems like it. Anyway, so letting go of that type of security is indeed a hard thing. But Christ is your friend and he’s surely got you.

    My biggest “sacrifice” I’ve been asked to make so far was when we were fostering three little girls (sisters) — it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It was hard on the family. When the girls finally went home, people may think this harsh, it was such a relief. But it didn’t work out. We were asked to take them back, and then asked to adopt them. I cried for a month. I felt damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. I couldn’t get a witness from God. I was going to go back for my teaching license but I withdrew and said okay. It’s been 7 years now. Last year I tried again on my license, but realized this is too critical of a time for them for me to be that distracted. I know in the end it won’t have been a sacrifice at all. Sometimes we just have to jump when he says jump. My older kids are grown, I have no career, and no money, but we are trying to raise these girls well. I know that’s how it should be. It’s hard, but I know it’s approaching zion.

    • February 20, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      Thank you, megara68 for what you shared. I appreciate the perspective you have given. I hadn’t thought of sacrifice in that light before. I am beginning to feel that there are smaller sacrifices we each offer up over the course of our lives that prepare us for the greater one(s). You have an inspiring story. I’m also reading Approaching Zion, and I’ve been prompted to read The Second Comforter, Journey to the Veil and The Cost of Discipleship as well. But I’m a wife, mom and college student, so I’m in the juggling phase of doing things right now. (So looking forward to summer break.)

  4. February 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Hello Tim,

    Oh my. Thank you for sharing from your heart in openness and sincerity, as always. This topic has been on my heart for a few weeks now. I’ve vacillated between terror and inspired hope as I’ve contemplated what the Lord would want of me. I’m not ready, and I believe He is okay with me just being willing to contemplate it for now. I had always believed I understood what that quote you shared from Lectures on Faith meant, but I’ve since learned I had not fully grasped the depth and need. I am still trying to.

    I have been led to ponder examples in the scriptures, particularly Job’s experiences, in minute detail. And I find everywhere I look each day as I go about life that I am searching for clues in the lives of others that will point me towards the light and knowledge I desperately want now concerning sacrifice and obedience. Perhaps it is not a simple happenstance that you are having this experience right at this moment. I feel quite a bit of gratitude to be able to witness how the Lord will look out for you and Carol.

    May I ask a question? I am wondering if you felt the impression during your conversation with the Lord that this sacrifice will also be Carol’s sacrifice. Or would the Lord ask something different of her, something more specific to her personally that tests something other than her desire to have security in this life? If you’d rather not answer, I understand. It was a question that came to me as I read the post.

    I will keep both of you in my prayers. As a wife and mother myself, I understand the trepidation and fear that result from a steady income being taken away. It is definitely a test of faith and obedience to learn how to rely on the Lord for ALL THINGS rather than on our own flesh, wisdom and knowledge. We’ve had these wonderful principles of self-reliance emphasized heavily in our lives without also the balancing knowledge of the importance of learning to look directly at the Lord in every thought and for every need. I suppose the great sacrifice we will all need to offer up is designed to get us to do just that? I’m just thinking aloud now.

    There is an experience shared in Visions of Glory that began me on this path. It was the one where a company of people were traveling and one of the members had run out of his diabetic meds. He had to learn to give his perceived physical illness and need for the medications to the Lord by asking the Lord to outright heal him. The Lord did exactly that. The message was that we each only need the Lord.

    Et lux en tenebris lucet–And the light shineth in the darkness.

  5. Dustin
    February 20, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I struggle with listening to god. I usually tend to second guess what I being told because it often makes no sense by the worlds standards and when counseling with others have been told god would never command that and that I am just being a zealot or overthinking things. As a result I ignored several of the lords directives rationalizing them and slowly distanced myself from him and only in the last month am perceiving my error. I now have a hard time giving up even some small things when asked, and your post inspires me to be better. I also perceive that satan will do everything in his power to make you feel like this is a mistake, and that the circumstances may confirm it as mistake and that resigning the job is only the beginning of the trial of your faith. I remember reading that we all must be tried even as Abraham was tried. I don’t know what that means but I often fear and shrink because of it. My prayers are with you. I hope I am wrong and hope things become clear soon.

  6. February 21, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Well, Tim. Come to Utah. We can both look for work together. (grin) I’ve been looking for eight months now. An employment specialist told me just today that the primary reason I’ve had such difficulty finding work is the aversion among Utah people to my research and the ideas I’ve published. When prospective employers research me online, they quickly discover that I promote ideas that the church might consider heretical. They then drop me like a hot potato, even though my qualifications are excellent. And get this: The specialist isn’t even LDS! He’s a Baptist.. But he spotted the 400 pound gorilla in the room right away. In other words, my passion is my worst enemy. He was surprisingly compassionate saying that the Lord had commissioned me to do the work I am doing ( something I wouldn’t claim for myself), and that it was not God’s desire that I suffer for doing what I should be doing. So, he was going to do all he could do to help me secure employment. As I read this post, I couldn’t help but see the similarities in your situation. At least in your case the Lord made his wishes for you clear. I’ve never had the luxury of such clarity. My thoughts and prayer go out to you my friend.

  7. February 21, 2014 at 6:56 am

    Wow! That is so scary! But happy birthday! I wish you all the luck, blessings and happiness you need for this journey.

    My sacrifice has been one of illness. I’ve pretty much bed in bed for almost two years, and it took a while to realize that this is a huge blessing in my life even though it has also been the hardest and most miserable time in my life.

    The Lord works in mysteries ways to bring us closer to him, he knows exactly the right way to do that for each individual, and it is because of Denver’s books that I have come full circle in realizing that this is a blessing and not some random mistake. It has definitely given me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

  8. Donald
    February 21, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Thank you for sharing. I am grateful for your example of courage and faith. Maybe next year in New Jerusalem.

  9. Vector
    February 21, 2014 at 11:57 am

    It looks like it’s about time to get out of Dodge, that is, California, before it sinks into the ocean. I’m sure that you and your wife will be just fine. The Lord takes care of those who love Him, like you obviously do.

  10. February 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Happy Birthday and best wishes. We shall watch your career with great interest.

  11. February 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Tim,

    Big doings in your world: your birthday! Happy birthday!

    The thing about your job will take care of itself. You happen to be in career that is high in demand. Nonetheless, you’re in my prayers as you move into the future with the Lord at your side.

    I’ll sign off with one of my favorite scriptures:

    Ask the Father in my name (I love that part), in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men. D&C 18:18

    I just thought of something I feel a desire to share.

    A few years ago I needed to hire an individual for my business. I went through the usual process and prayerfully decided. I was excited about this individual, thinking she would do a fine job for my business. I called and asked her to come in for a additional interview, knowing that I would hire her when she came in.

    A minute or two after I completed the phone call the Spirit told me not to hire her. The impression came to my mind and heart in the form of an anxious feeling. It happened suddenly and was the exact opposite of what I had been feeling in a prior moment.

    I waited a few minutes and called her back. I told her that I had received additional information after talking with her and that wouldn’t be hiring after all. I told her I couldn’t give any details and asked her to forgive me. She was kind and just said, “that’s interesting”.

    I have no idea why the prompting came after I told her to come in for the additional interview.

    I relate this experience because it is similar to yours in that it came out of the blue, so to speak, suddenly and decisively. There was no room for doubt.

    Later, I did hire someone and things went well.

    • insightprowler
      February 26, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Jared,
      I had a similar experience. Some years ago I needed to hire a graphic designer. I interviewed a young women who had all the qualifications we were looking for. I put her at the top of my list, but I didn’t feel right about hiring her, it just didn’t feel right, so we hired someone else. A few days later I saw her on the news having been arrested for a very serious felony.
      I have learned over the years that the more I pay attention and follow what are sometimes feelings, sometimes pure knowledge, and more recently, very tangible communications, the more frequently the Lord responds with further guidance.

  12. Steve
    February 21, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Tim,

    I’m glad that you were familiar with the Lord’s voice and willing to do what He counseled. My wife and I have had some experience with these things. Sometimes we know why He commanded such unobvious choices and other times it’s still a mystery years later.

    Steve

  13. Adam
    February 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Tim,

    Happy Birthday. All will be ok.

  14. Bill Berrett
    February 21, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    What a great story. Keep any knives or sharp objects away from your wife for a while. Thanks for the inspiration and gutsy move. Your example will be remembered with honor. I need to follow your example better. We must each do what God says and not man. Zion rules, not Babylon. Perhaps the Lord is hinting that the excrement is about to hit the air-dispensing device. Cool stuff.

  15. DJ
    February 21, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Tim you ought to celebrate, you hearkened.

  16. Roy Moore
    February 23, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Hi Tim,

    We’re all trading our time and talents for a place to live, food, etc. If we’re inspired, as I perceive you are, we long to drop out of the ‘rat race’ of pursuing that which moth and rust doth corrupt (Matt. 6: 19–20). We’re not leaving this life with any of it anyway, right?

    Have you ever spent a week alone in the wilderness? I have. It is the most raw condition of living. Your moment-to-moment thoughts are reduced to ‘where can I find water’, ‘what can I eat’ and ‘how can I stay warm’.

    With no distractions (media, phone calls, work, and even Family), my mind/spirit gradually rests from all worries and recognizes a myriad of blessings I enjoy that are hidden behind so many man-made distractions. I always return from these outings rejuvenated in the spirit. I greet my Wife and Children (and Grandchildren) with a long embrace. The’re all that matters, after all.

    Maybe a personal sabbatical is in order. Make sure Carol knows where you are and how to get in touch with you (if you don’t check in as agreed at the end of the sabbatical).

    Thanks for sharing your life’s experiences with all of us. I know our Lord will provide for you and yours.

    Your brother

    Roy

  17. Ruth
    February 23, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    You and your wife will be in our prayers. Hopefully The Lord will let you know the why with out much delay.

  18. Lynn Bernhard
    February 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I cried like a baby. A grown man crying in his Dept of War cubicle tryinig not to be noticed. Tim, my breath has been taken away twice in my lifetime while reading a text, once when I read Denver’s testimony of the Savior, and for the second time when I read you opening comments in this blog. I work in the death industry and GOD has been speaking to me in a similar manner. I want out of the business of death and to find peace in the industry of life and love. Your courage is inspiring. GOD bless you forever. lynn

  19. Lynne McKinley Orem, Utah
    February 25, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Tim, dear, dear brother in Christ, how I love you and your testimony – so frank and vulnerable and genuine. I don’t read many blogs, pretty much a waste of time for me, but I check in on yours every so often to catch up because you are so wide open about your personal journey that I feel I know you, and have grown to love you from your posts. What I have learned firsthand (as I have also been expanded spiritually by the message of Denver Snuffer) is that our sacrifices pour forth almost immediate blessings… such that I am almost getting to the point of being able to ask for and lean into the sacrifices and tests. Who was it that said, “My faith is yet firm Lord, give me another mountain” ? I used to think only an idiot would say something like that, but the more of myself I put on the altar the more amazed I am at how incredibly loved we are by our Father, who only desires to bless us, and ALWAYS pours forth blessings we can barely imagine or contain. We are all, every single one of us, going to experience the loss of “job security” and or “self-reliance security” in the very near future – you’re just a little ahead of the curve. I look forward to hearing how this all turned out for you – I know it will be an amazing story! They always are at this level of obedience and sacrifice. With Lynn, above, I also say God bless you forever.

  20. February 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Just read this on John Pontius’s blog and it made me think of you.

    Revelation is, however, very demanding. Even the most seemingly insignificant communication from the Lord must be acted upon courageously, and without complaint, or the heavens remain silent for a time. The Lord does not take revelation lightly, and neither must we. If we attain unto this precious gift and follow it meticulously, it will lead us to the precious fruits of the tree of life and far beyond. If we fail to do so, we shall forever remain in spiritual mediocrity.

  21. February 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    That was from a book he wrote. Not sure which one. LOL But it sure is beautifully written.

  22. February 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    My personal inspiration concerning Denver Snuffer was to leave him alone for now, for I am not ready to handle whatever he is all about. It doesn’t mean that he is a false prophet, but perhaps only certain people are equipped to deal with his message at the present.

    Concerning personal revelation, I have had impressions to leave a good job before. But that was when I was very young; teens and twenties. I feel very afraid for a person in late middle age making this kind of decision, and in this kind of economy. However, the Lord knows all things. I’m sure you will do all right and be better off in the end, but I am concerned about the demoralizations that will most likely be coming your way. THAT can be harder to tolerate than financial struggles.

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