Every year, players and coaches are inducted into state and national halls of fame. It’s a wonderful experience for the individual and his family, a culmination of many years of hard work and performance on and off the field. Few ever know the amount of sacrifice required for such a career. Thankfully, halls of fame exist, at least in part, to honor those sacrifices.

Any earthly accomplishment and success must be accompanied by huge sacrifices of time, money, and even opportunities.

Yet, ironically, God isn’t impressed with our sacrifices as much as we are or would like Him to be, even if they lead us to the hall of fame.

Proverbs 21:3–“To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord rather than sacrifice” (NASB).

Here’s the deal. Those who followed God during that time figured that all they needed to do was go through the motions of doing a few things God had said, do some nice things that would impress people, make a few sacrifices of their animals to God, and all would be well. God had something else to say. He was looking at their hearts and saw them stained with unrepentant sin. He saw that they really didn’t care about people. He saw that their sacrifices hid the fact that they were, in fact, far from God.

What about you? Are you counting on your years as a youth league or high school coach to count for something before God? Is that your set of “good deeds” you hope will please Him? Those things might be great, but they aren’t what God is looking for primarily. He sees your heart. Is is surrendered to Jesus? Has your sin been replaced with the perfect righteousness of Jesus? If not, all those “good” things add up to nothing.

Here’s a prayer:

Lord Jesus, put things in the right order for me. I give you my whole heart, my whole life. I surrender it all to you. Give me your righteousness and forgiveness. Then, set me about the good things you want me to do. Help me to keep it in that order. Righteousness first, sacrifice second. Amen.