Recently, a friend from college posted something on FaceBook which I reposted. It read, “How many grandparents would give their lives to save their grandchildren but won’t give up their style of worship to reach them?” and then I added, “What are you willing to sacrifice to reach another?”
I added the last question because I wonder if it is proper to ask our grandparents to sacrifice if we are not willing to do the same. The question could again easily be reversed and posed to the youth, “How many youth would give their lives to save their grandparents but won’t give up their style of worship to reach them?”
So often we look at sacrifice as something someone else does. Other times we see something that someone else is willing to sacrifice as not a sacrifice at all. I remember sitting in a church that was in the midst of a building campaign and the philosophy of the day was for church staff to share what they are sacrificing and giving to show the membership that they were committed to the project and to garner more support for it. The senior pastor rises and begins sharing about the building campaign and then proceeds to share what he is going to do and he says, “I’m going to give up one of my trips/vacations and use those funds towards the building.” At that one single point, this pastor showed me and others that he had lost touch with the members of his congregation. Many members were already giving of their vacation time to volunteer for such activities as VBS, a summer camp, retreats, etc. and already foregoing trips for the cause of the kingdom and now he was going to make a similar “sacrifice” for a building!?!? Some in the membership could not affiord to take even one trip/vacation per year but this was his sacrifice!?!? But for this pastor, that act truly was a sacrifice for him and his family.
I think as we look at sacrifice, there are two key examples. First, is the widow’s mite as found in Mark 12:41-44 (KJV):
41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites [two copper coins], which make a farthing [less than a penny]. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
This widow gave all, having to trust God for her daily provision.
The other is Jesus who gave up the glory of Heaven to come to earth so He could die for each of us. During the Christmas season we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but His birth has no significance (except for fulfilling prophecies) if He does not die a physical death, and then rise again conquering death, then His birth was in vain. He would have just been a good man as many believe.
So as we look at the birth of Jesus this Christmas season, let us not forget His death and resurrection. Celebrate His birth and rejoice in what He did for you. He sacrificed completely, not for himself, but for others.
The question I leave you with is: What are you sacrificing for the Kingdom? Don’t focus on what others are doing, what are you doing? Do you sacrifice things for your own pleasure and interests? Probably, we all do, but I encourage you to sacrifice for the Kingdom. You know what that is for you and if you’re not sure, ask God, He will give you the wisdom you need to know what that sacrifice should be.
If we are not making sacrifices for God, then how can we disciple the childen placed in our care about true sacrifice?