I love the story of Joseph of Arimathea. If you’ve been in church for any length of time, you probably know that he was the man who asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and took it off the cross to bury in his own family tomb. Strangely enough, he was a member of the Sanhedrin — the group of Jewish zealots that put Jesus to death — and although he didn’t support His Savior’s crucifixion, he felt helpless to stop it, so he did what he could to demonstrate his love. In remembering why his actions were such a big deal, it’s important to note that crucified victims were typically hung naked and at eye-level so that everyone who passed by could see them. This added to their pain and humiliation, and once they were dead, they weren’t usually taken off the cross, but rather left there for the birds and bugs to eat. Knowing this, you can imagine Herod’s utter shock when Joseph — a man of wealth and reputation — begged to be given Jesus’ body for burial. Not only would touching a corpse have made him ceremonially unclean in the eyes of Jewish law, but lavishing such affection on one who had been deemed a worthless criminal would have been utterly humiliating. Nevertheless, rather than shy away from the stigma of His Lord’s death, this reputable man made himself disreputable by properly burying Him in a tomb that was worth a lot of money. This was a radical act of love and sacrifice, and though he wasn’t a world-changer in the early church, Joseph of Arimathea serves as a poignant example that even one act of charity can shape the course of history!
My friend, when you give God what you have, regardless of how great or small it seems, He can take what you offer and transform it into something whose impact will far outlive you. Like Joseph of Arimathea, as you choose to lay your reputation on the altar of sacrifice, the Lord is blessed, and He does more than you can ask for or imagine through your humble posture of heart. When you put Him first and choose to honor Him above your wealth, family, or position in society, He rewards you with an abiding joy and deep peace that can’t be bought at any worldly price.