April 17, 2019
When we are faced with a choice between comfort and difficulty, most will certainly choose comfort.
But hardships and difficulty are part of life. And when I think of hardship, my mother’s sacrifice immediately comes to mind. She had to work abroad so that she can send us to a good school and give us a comfortable life. And we enjoyed those things. But what I didn’t like was how her absence affected our family. She missed a lot of key moments in our lives as we grew up, and we dreaded the emotional torment her distance has brought upon all of us. I knew that her sacrifice was necessary, and I am truly grateful for what she did for our family.
Naturally, we are attracted to anything that brings us relief. The idea of sacrifice goes against our human tendency of self-preservation. There is nothing appealing about sacrifice. It brings inconvenience and pain. Who would choose those over comfort?
Our tendency is to think that when we experience suffering, there is something wrong with us. We want to eliminate the cause of our discomfort immediately. Perhaps that’s the reason we don’t automatically embrace a life of sacrifice. But there is beauty in sacrifice.
How can sacrifice be beautiful? Can we embrace a life of sacrifice?
Often, we allow ourselves to make sacrifices when we know that they will eventually lead to a better outcome for us. We eat healthier and exercise because we know that we will look and feel better. We wake up early so that we won’t be late for our class.
Yet there’s a sacrifice that doesn’t seem to make sense.
. . . but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Sometimes we pay too much attention on what we are giving up to follow Jesus.
Think about Christ’s sacrifice. We must understand that Jesus had done nothing wrong, yet He endured and made the ultimate sacrifice—dying on the cross for sinners like us. He didn’t have to suffer and die on the cross because He was perfect and sinless. But He was not after comfort; He was obeying the will of His Father. It was out of great love that He was sent to be the sacrifice.
If it weren’t for Jesus and His great love, where would we be? His sacrifice allowed us to receive forgiveness for our sins, be restored to a right relationship with God, and live in His love.
When we understand the gravity of Jesus’ sacrifice, our eyes will be opened to the reality that His sacrifice far outweighs any sacrifice that we can make. Therefore, our sacrifice is not out of obligation, but a response to the great love that He has poured out for us.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ . . .
Sacrificing entails that we let go of something precious or valuable to us. But when sacrifice is viewed with an eternal perspective, every sacrifice for the sake of Christ is actually an eternal gain. We need a gentle reminder that everything we have right now is temporary.
In view of eternity, every sacrifice for the glory of God counts. Regardless of any earthly reward, our joy comes from having Christ as our ultimate reward. Sacrifice is uncomfortable, but it positions us to cling to and depend only on God. As we hold on to Him, we will have the privilege of seeing amazing things that only God can do.
We can take hold of the real treasure when we are able to understand that He is indeed all we need.
What does sacrifice mean to you? Does it mean laying down a dream? Is it about letting go of something or someone you hold dear? Is it about not giving up despite being in a tough situation?
As you obey, may you find strength in Christ, who already made the ultimate sacrifice and in whom we can find our eternal gain.