I wanted to spend some time talking about sacrifice in our blog today. We are about to head back to Haiti on Monday, and I keep coming back to this idea of sacrifice. I feel like it is one of those words that has so many meanings that it has lost its actual meaning. The Webster definition of “sacrifice” is, “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.” On a worldly level, that is a perfect definition. We often give up something that we want in order to help someone or do something else. We often hear the phrase, “I sacrificed my Saturday morning to serve the homeless,” or “he sacrificed his his time to serve at church,” or “they sacrificed their money for others.” We also, if we are baseball fans hear the term “sacrifice bunt” or “sacrifice fly,” and those words show us what a sacrifice is. There are many times when people say that we (Jess and I) are “sacrificing” for the kids at our orphanage and we return the favor by telling our teams that come down that they are sacrificing their time for our kids. Both of these things are true. If you give up a week of vacation to come and visit us you are sacrificing your time and your money.
So where is the disconnect? These things truly are sacrifices, so why did I make the statement that the word is losing its meaning? I think the disconnect is found in the Biblical idea of sacrifice. To sacrifice is to shed blood, to take life, to give your life for another, and really for one life to take the place of another. Sacrifice is messy and truly painful, it requires a willingness to completely give yourself up for someone else. It is not a real sacrifice for us to move down to Haiti. We are not giving up our lives or putting ourselves in the place of another. We just fell in love with some children that we knew would become ours. Listen to what Romans 12:1 has to say about sacrifice…
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to GOD–this is your spiritual act of worship.
This is one of the few times in the Bible where the word “sacrifice” is not tied directly to the shedding of blood, but it also is not ruling the shedding of blood out. This idea of offering our bodies as living sacrifices is when we can get to the point that GOD has complete control over everything. Think about it. When an animal was brought to sacrifice, there was nothing it could do, it was under the control of another. When Jesus came to die on the Cross, there was nothing else He could do. On a human level, of course, He could have run. He could have used His power as GOD to get out of the sacrifice, but He was not His own, He was the definition of a “living sacrifice.” Someone who was willing to die in the place of another to bring glory to the one who was in complete control of Him.
Here is what I have to ask myself…Is my “sacrifice” really a sacrifice? Am I truly under the complete control of another? Am I willing to do anything and go anywhere my GOD takes me? Am I willing to die for what I believe, to die for the sake of another? Is my body a living sacrifice or do I just do some things that look like sacrifices to other people? Is everything I do in humble submission to my GOD? And here is my conclusion…NOT EVEN CLOSE. There are so many areas of my life that I have to give to my GOD that are difficult and I don’t know how to give them over.
So here is my conclusion…
GOD, please never allow me to grow complacent and content with things that look like sacrifice, but always allow me to live my life as a living sacrifice. As a person who is completely under the control of another and who is willing to give myself over to that person no matter what!