Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Value of Sacrifice

“I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)

To “sacrifice” means to give up something we hold dear in order to gain someone else even more valuable.  Although this is an idea and practice that’s considered archaic and unrealistic in today’s self-centered, narcissistic world, if we think about it, sacrifice is really at the heart of any great culture/society. 

For example, as Americans we’ve built our freedoms and liberties as a nation on the sacrifice of men and women of our past, many of whom have given their very lives for the freedoms we now enjoy.  The same can be said of both our Christian faith and of the story of our own church here at East Cobb UMC:  the faith we possess and the church we have today is the result of the life sacrifices of our forbearers before us.  And the same can be said of the sacrifices our parents made so that we could have an education, clothes, food, etc.

The bottom line is that all we have and enjoy in life today can be said to result from the sacrifices of others.  So, our world is just fooling itself when it claims that “sacrifice” is an archaic and out-of-date practice in today’s contemporary world.

The story is told of an old Japanese farmer who had just harvested a rice crop that would make him rich.  His farm was on a high plain overlooking the village at the ocean's edge.  A mild earthquake had shaken the ground, but the villagers were used to that, so they took little notice.

The farmer, looking out to sea, saw that the water on the horizon appeared dark and foreboding.  He knew what that meant --- a tidal wave.  "Bring me a torch, quick, " he shouted to his grandson.  Then he raced to his stacks of rice and set them ablaze.

When the bell in the temple below rang the alarm, the people scrambled up the steep slopes to help save their neighbor's crop.  But the farmer met them at the edge of the plain, shouting "Look! Look!" The saw a great swell of water racing towards them.  As it crashed ashore, the tiny village below was torn to pieces.  But because that farmer willingly sacrificed his harvest, hundreds of people were spared.

Again, sacrifice is when we give up something valuable in order to gain something more valuable.  As we prepare for the Commitment Sunday of our “be BOLD” capital campaign [Read more about it HERE], it’s important for us to take stock of what valuable thing(s) we’re willing to sacrifice (like our finances) so that something even more valuable (God’s vision for our church) can come to pass for future generations

[CLICK HERE to read ideas about how you can be more sacrificial in your financial giving to God’s church].  How are you going to “be BOLD” in Sacrifice for God’s kingdom?!  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

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