This past weekend we have seen many occasions honoring and remembering those who have served our nation in the armed forces in ways which cost them their lives. These men and women have been willing to make "the ultimate sacrifice" on behalf of others, and we are grateful for their dedication.
The whole idea of sacrifice on behalf of others is one we find in scripture. In the gospel of John, Jesus said, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command." (John 15:12-15, NIV, italics mine) Here, Jesus tells us that there is no greater love than to be willing to lay down one's life on behalf of one's friends. Again, it is about sacrifice.
When it comes to giving - sacrifice is a key component of what Christian generosity is all about. We are called to give, not just what we can or what is convenient for us to give -- we are called to give at a level that actually costs us something. That's what we mean by giving sacrificially - it costs us something to give to others.
C.S. Lewis, the Christian writer and scholar, once said that unless our giving is costing us something and we actually feel the sacrifice, then we are probably not giving enough. This is not some form of religious masochism, rather it is a way of choosing to give that not only helps others, but invites spiritual growth on our part. Yet, what is amazing about this kind of giving is this: in the long run, it shapes us into people who are better able to experience the joy of the Christian life!
So as we continue to honor those courageous individuals who have made sacrifices on behalf of others, may we be inspired by their example in all areas of our lives. And may we have the courage and the compassion to give generously and sacrificially of our time, talents and treasure as followers of Christ.
Prayer for Today
We give thanks for Jesus who gave us life for each one of us. Thank you for his example of sacrificial love. Show us one way that we can give sacrificially to someone else today of our time, talent, or treasure - believing that our giving will not only make a difference in the life of someone, but it will bring us joy, as well. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.