…God tested and proved Abraham and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Here I am. [God] said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I will tell you.
—Genesis 22:1-2

Once the Lord said to me, “Joyce, do you love Me? If so, will you still love Me and serve Me even if I don’t do everything just the way you want or just when you think I should?” At the time of the Lord’s visitation, I had been asking God for a huge ministry. He also said, “Joyce, if I asked you to go down to the riverfront here in St. Louis and minister to fifty people for the rest of your life and never be known by anyone, would you do it?” My response was, “But, Lord, surely you can’t really be asking me to do that!”

We always have such grandiose plans for ourselves. If God asks us to do something that isn’t prominent, we aren’t always sure we are hearing Him correctly or that it is His will for us! When God asked me those questions about my ministry, I felt the way I imagined Abraham must have felt when the Lord asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac through whom He had promised to bless him and all nations of the earth (see Genesis 22).

It seemed God was asking me to give up the very work He had given me through which He blessed many others as well as me. But God wasn’t asking me to give up that ministry. He was just asking me to lay it on the altar, just like Abraham laid Isaac on the altar before the Lord.

We must not let anything—even our work for God—become more important to us than God Himself. To keep that from happening, from time to time God calls upon us to lay it all on the altar as proof of our love and commitment. He tests us by asking us to lay down our most treasured blessing as proof of our love for Him.