Sacrifice. We don’t like to think about it – especially when we consider what has been sacrificed for us, or when we wonder what we must sacrifice for others.
At the end of the day’s meditation there is a brief prayer that begins with,
“Jesus, we like to sacrifice for others in ways we choose, but only You can make us want to sacrifice for others when we are forced to by life, or by obedience, or “compelled” promptings of the Holy Spirit. This week as we struggle with following the Way of Love: Step by Step, be with us moment by moment urging us on.”
This brought out all sorts of questions. Does making a sacrifice necessarily preclude deriving enjoyment? I mean, is an act only a sacrifice if it was difficult and/or painful? And if we really love doing something, or receive some sort or reward for it, it is truly a sacrifice? The prayer starts out telling Jesus, “we like to sacrifice for others in ways we choose.” I find that an odd line. First of all, while it might be an honor or a privilege to make some sort of sacrifice for another, can I say in all truth that I liked it, enjoyed it, or “had fun?” Just wondering.
The prayer continues with,
“but only You can make us want to sacrifice for others when we are forced to by life, or by obedience, or ‘compelled’ promptings of the Holy Spirit.”
Odd – it has always been my stance that nobody can make you or compel you to do anything! Particularly God. Because if God can “make” you do something (even making you “want”), doesn’t that take away any sense of free will or choice in the matter? And if you are being made to do something, is it then a sacrifice? Sacrifices are things made by choice – conscious choice.
I am most likely reading too much into that prayer, but in any event, it made me think a bit about sacrifice. Sacrificial love and sacrificial giving – objectively they are things that I do want to do – because I like to think of myself as noble, or at least as having the capacity to be noble. I do wonder sometimes though how much actual sacrificing I do. It’s sort of a Catch-22, because as soon as you start thinking you are making a sacrifice, the self-consciousness of it all sort of takes a bit of the value away from it.
Probably the best way is just to concentrate on loving as much and as well as we can. Then if sacrifices are made, well, at least love was the aim, and hopefully the focus. Besides, no sacrifice I could make could ever come close to Jesus’ sacrifice for me and the whole world. Humbling. Which is what sacrifice is, anyway, isn’t it? The ultimate humility, and humble-making..
It has been a lovely campfire tonight. I got in a conversation with my Pastor about you Kenny, and our dream, and about our walk. He was so happy and interested to hear about it, and is excited to think that you might, God-willing, come to visit and worship with us some day! Jesus has been smiling – even as Palm Sunday drew to a close. The nitty-gritty of this week are starting to bear down on me, so it must be overwhelmingly so for Him. How does he manage to life me up when he knows what is going to happen?
We have much meditating this week, and much to share with each other and with our Lord.
See you are the campfire tomorrow, after our day on the road. . .