Sacrifice = something you give up for the sake of something better
All sacrifices really begin with a choice. Everyone of us makes sacrifices. Because no matter who we are, we practice the principle of giving something up for something better every day.
There's a certain tension that we experience in choices that makes it hard for us, at times, to know which choice to make. Wouldn't it be great if there was a Scripture that could guide us? What if there was something that we could look to every time we were faced with those tough dilemmas? There's something that Jesus said that can help us at any point in our lives.
Key Text: John 15:13 - There's no greater love than to lay down one's life for your friends.
Love is really about laying down yourself for others. It's thinking about more than just "me," but those in my circle. When caught in a difficult decision or a deep desire that may change our future, if first ask what's best for THEM, it may save us a lot of heartache.
Remember the story of Jacob and Esau? Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew. He sacrificed what he wanted MOST for what he wanted NOW. He didn't stop to ask, "What's best for my future?" Or, "How will this decision affect my kids?" He only asked, "What's best for me?"
When you're looking from the outside, you can see how ridiculous Esau's decision was. But what will YOU do when you're presented with the same choice? Maybe it will be about your marriage, your kids, your finances. When faced with the question - Do I take what I want NOW or what I want MOST - will we stop and realize that what we want NOW probably isn't the same as what we want MOST.
Fast forward 20 years in our story. Jacob had been in hiding from his brother all that time. Esau had 20 years to build an army, to plan his revenge. When they meet again, will Esau once again make a silly decision in the heat of the moment, or will he choose a better future? Genesis 33:4 says, "But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him." This time, Esau sacrificed his pride and anger for a relationship with his brother. This time, he sacrificed what he wanted NOW for what he wanted MOST.
This second time around provided hope. Maybe you didn't get it right the first time around and sacrificed a big part of your future away, but God's grace is so much bigger. Just do the next right thing! God can redeem the mistakes of your past and turn them around so that next time, things can change. God takes our mistakes and brings healing.
Here’s the thing about our key Scripture. Jesus said this to his disciples. He later lived this Scripture out not only for them, but for you and me. I’m not sure if you feel distant from God today. You might feel that because of your past, that God doesn’t want anything to do with you. But here’s the beauty of this Scripture, 2000 years ago when Jesus said this, He had you in mind. He knew that you would be distant from God. He knew that you would need to know that someone loves you and made the ultimate sacrifice for you. And so Jesus was taken to a cross, which was just 2 boards nailed together. Then he died a gruesome death for you. Did he have to do it? No. He chose to, because he looked in the future and asked, "What story do I want them to tell?" And He wanted you to be able to tell the story that Jesus laid down His life and died because He calls you His friend. He gave His life so that you could have relationship with God.
Posted on Sat, May 23, 2015
by Erika Catlett