“They say that you can’t give your whole self away
So why am I finding it hard to tell some pieces to stay?
My life, like a living sacrifice, is offered to all
Until nothing is left, it is then that I will fall?” -Jon Bauman
Sacrifice is something that not many people “get”. Sacrifice does not mean doing something to benefit yourself, it means doing something to benefit another. It means giving up things yourself, to make things better for another. It means true compassion.
I do not claim to be a fully sacrificial person; I am also selfish, stubborn, prideful, arrogant, ignorant, and may other not-so-attractive attributes that can define some things that I can be and that I can do. I strive everyday to go against these attributes and live more humbly, honestly, sincerely, and lovingly. Now, it is not so much of an effort as it used to be, I barely think about it because the positive attributes have become who I am, and the bad attributes come more sparingly, and all credit goes to God. But thats what college can do to you; it changes you because for the first time – you are yourself, you can make your own decisions, and you start seeing the effects of your bad ones. Instead of not doing something because you were told not to, you don’t do it because you do not want to do it. God has really used college to shape me into the man I am today, and I am so grateful.
That being said, I will do so much for people because I want to, and because I have a better mindset of what the right thing to do is, than I used to. Some call it maturity, others sanctification, I’m just thankful that it happened, and is continuing to shape as I grow in faith and age. During a semester in college, I went to a homeless living community in Bristol, PA once a week to just communicate with the guys there, and be real with them. People may give them clothing, food, etc., but few actually stay and talk, and come back week after week to build relationships with them, and I am so thankful that the church I went with, Redemption, does that, and has let me join them. After I got to know the guys better…I found it hard to call them “homeless”. They have tents, family, friends, food, clothing, and all of what they need to live, and most of it is self-sustaining, but God’s Church through Redemption and other churches have given them what they don’t have, what they need. And that…is really, really awesome to see.
Sacrifice can be done in many forms. We can sacrifice our time, money, efforts, houses, cars, and many other things; but the largest sacrifice we can make is our life. Would you be willing to die so that others may live? Would you be able to die for your faith? These are questions that are hard to answer. The answer we know we should say is “yes”, but there is always a part of us that says “no”, or “I honestly don’t know”.
A few years back, I was at the beach. And at this beach, a friend and I saw two girls by the rock barrier, in the water, at high tide. We shouted to see if they needed help, and they did so we swam over and we each took ahold of one. Because of the high tide and the struggle of trying to swim with another person, I got separated from the girl that I was trying to save. I then got pushed into the rock barrier and was stuck there for a few minutes, and after I got away from it again, every foot I swam, I got sucked back another two feet; I was making NO progress. This went on for a few more minutes(which seemed like hours), and my breaths kept taking in more salt water as I was getting more fatigued and the tide was continuing to rise. Finally, I looked up at the sky and prayed in my head, “God…I’m ready. Take me now, I’m ready to go”. In that moment…I was SO content about dying, I was OKAY with it. Then immediately after I prayed that prayer…my feet felt sand, and I was swimming towards shore and I was completely safe with just a few minor scratches on my ankle from the rocks. That event taught me that I was okay with dying, and that God had a plan for me.
But that event taught me something else too. Since I was okay with dying, I would be okay to die in order to save someone else. I would be willing to make that sacrifice for others, and for my faith. To me, to live is to make others’ lives enriched. To me, sacrificial living is the way to go. People that know me know that I am a pretty peaceful guy, but they also know that I am very protective of my friends and my family. I will do anything for them. but as stated before…I am NOT perfect, and therefore, I am not a fully sacrificial person, but in most cases, I yearn to live sacrificially.
How do you view sacrifice? Does love require sacrifice? Would you Not sacrifice something? These are questions to think about and to ponder. And that is what i will leave you with.