Sacrifice is like a four-letter, dirty word.
When people use the word, sacrifice, others tend to look at them like they have lost their mind and clearly, would rather them not say the word…ever.
It reminds me of another word that gets a bad rap – obedience – because it invokes the same kind of reaction from people and has a seriously negative connotation associated with it.
Why is that? Well…both words require ACTION from us that has nothing to do with…well, US.
As the rebellious human that I am, I include myself in this absurd defiance against these two words (poor things – they didn’t do anything) and the actions that they symbolize. YIKES!
However, when I get past the childish immaturity that rises up (from the depth of my toes) when I hear them, I realize that sacrifice and obedience are for no one else’s good, but my own. Argh!
REALLY? Why can’t selfishness and self-serving be the way to righteousness? I’d be REALLY good at that!!! Considering the ways of the world, they are prevalent, but unfortunately for us selfish people, they are not the way. Sigh.
And so, I digress.
Sacrifice happens when we put the needs and wants of others before our own.
Webster’s first definition for sacrifice is ‘an offering, as of a life or object, to a deity. The second definition is ‘a giving up of one thing for the sake of another.
Interestingly, the first definition includes a deity and the second is sacrificing to others. The position of definitions makes me wonder why they put sacrificing to God first. I feel a ‘God moment’ coming on!
I don’t think it is by mistake that the placement of the sacrifice definitions reminds me of what I’ve read in the Bible about the top two commandments.
The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31
However, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up if we don’t like or have a hard time sacrificing. HELLO!!! If it was easy, it really wouldn’t be a sacrifice, right????
I also don’t think we should sacrifice because others tell us to because when we do it begrudgingly, it turns into more of a sin than something worthy of God because we get frustrated, angry and crabby because we are doing something we don’t want to do. (I know you know what I mean!!!)
The act of sacrificing in the right way can only come from God.
We humans will get it wrong every time if we try to do it all on our own and in our own way. Conversely, if we seek the Lord’s help, then we will be in the right mind and heart to sacrifice as God would have us do.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2Corinthians 9:7
Deciding in our hearts means that we have to ask God to give us His desires and His will to be as He wants us to be and not what our world or own humanness considers the right way to go.
Sacrifice is not easy. But, it is meant to develop our character and fulfill our purpose in the world. The act of sacrificing changes us from the inside out and makes us more of who God created us to be and in turn, sets us free from the chains that bind us to a lack-luster life.
God is larger than most of us ever give Him credit for and through our sacrifice we are allowed to see God take our teeny-tiny, sacrificial actions and fashion them into God-sized miracles that will not only make us glad we sacrificed, but give us a contentment that we can find nowhere else.
I encourage you to seek the Will of God and sacrifice as He leads you today!!
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 16:2 – All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.