By Carin LeRoy –
Recently my neighbor knew a family who had a fire in their house, and she asked if my husband had a spare pair of shoes she could take to the husband. We remembered a pair of casual nice leather shoes that didn’t fit my husband that were never used. They were sitting in the closet gathering dust, so I gave her the pair. My neighbor was grateful, and I felt good they were going to someone in need. As I thought about those shoes, I began to think that giving those was not a sacrifice because we couldn’t use them anyway.
How much do we sacrifice for others? As Christians, we go to church most Sundays, give our tithe, attend small group, maybe give a gift to a missionary and fill our lives with good and honorable things. But these things are not sacrifice. Mothers forgo a career to raise their children; fathers give up comfort and peace to work hard and support their family; and parents forfeit their desires for their children’s needs. These are ways we sacrifice for family.
When we are self-absorbed, we focus on our own needs and desires and are not willing to give for the sake of others. Many marriages fall apart because one or both partners refuse to compromise or meet the needs of the other. Sacrifice means we are willing to deny ourselves in order to bless others or to bless God. We relinquish for the benefit of another.
I think of a missionary pilot and friend who flew a small single-engine plane for years helping others. He flew into isolated areas taking in supplies and food, carrying out those needing medical care and making sure that he was meeting the needs of those in his area. His work cost him his life one day as his plane crashed into the side of a mountain after encountering bad weather. He sacrificed for others.
Do we live a life of sacrifice? Or are we self-absorbed? Christ is our ultimate example. In Scripture we read in Philippians that “Christ made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant.” Why? Because He knew that living in obedience to God’s will was worth the sacrifice of his own life—even death on a cross. Out of His great love, Christ left all the glories of heaven and His deserved place beside His father to sacrifice His life for us.
As we move into this new year, let’s remember that a life of obedience and a willingness to sacrifice is the truest form of worship.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for Your great sacrifice and willingness to come to earth and die for my sins. Keep me mindful that a life of true worship stems from a life of obedience and sacrifice.
“You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow– in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11 NET).