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Posted on March 19th, 2006

Well we’re two-and-a-half weeks into Lent with around a month left to go and, so far, so good! I’ve been able to observe the season by being good on the things that I gave up and I’m pretty sure that I’ll come out clean on the other side.

What surprises me, however, is that the no alcohol thing is probably the hardest for me to keep. Not that I’m an alcoholic or anything. But I’m often in situations where I would drink. The iPod thing should have been the hardest but I have yet to travel somewhere farther than 30 minutes away. I imagine that if/when I head home, I’ll be itching to have music 😛

All of this comes in light of a recent conversation that I had at my Forum at St. Paul’s. We were talking about sacrifice and one participant questioned if we ever sacrifice for God. Before that time, I considered sacrifice an integral part of worship; we sacrifice our will as we surrender to God’s. But he contended that, since we expect to build a relationship with God through sacrifice, it’s not really a sacrifice at all. He argued that we can’t sacrifice if we get something (and, in this case, something immeasurably valuable) out of it.

Perhaps it’s a motive thing, then. Another participant said that if we give something up out of love for God, then it is a sacrifice. But it was countered that an ulterior motive, regardless of how small, exists to gain something; humans don’t do anything unless they get something.. be it self-satisfaction, recognition, appreciation, and so on. The first guy said that the true sacrifice would be to continue to live a Christian life after God tells someone that he/she will not receive His grace and mercy.

While I disagree that that is the only true sacrifice, I wondered if I could do that. Quite frankly, I expect that I would be very upset and distraught. But it’s not like I really deserve His grace or mercy. So maybe I could reason that it was just my due. So maybe I really could sacrifice.

Upon realizing this, I started to think how sacrifice has and has not been a presence in my life. I occurred to me that much of my sacrifices have been peripheral things… things that I could do without quite easily. My iPod and alcohol are among those things. But are they good enough? I’m starting to think not.

I think of rich nations living in opulence and decadence giving the “crumbs off of their table” to the desperate and needy like the countries in Africa. I think of me pointing my accusing finger at those nations and, in a parallel sort of way, I am guilty of precisely the same thing. I don’t know what my answer to this is, but I’m glad that I noticed it. Truth be told, I’m a little scared to find out. But you only live once, right?

3 Responses to “Sacrifice”

  1. Backguy Says:

    Okay, so the timing on our posts is quite coincidental. Only a seven-minute difference in posting on the same topic!

  2. Tony Says:

    Well, even Christ Himself knew that His sacrefice would result in redemption for the entire human race – not a small outcome at all. So I would argue that true sacrefice is when you do it for somebody else’s benefit with no hope of a reward to yourself, as opposed to sacrefice with no point whatsoever.

  3. Justin Says:

    But that’s the thing. When you sacrifice for God, there is always hope for a reward! So, by your definition, can we not sacrifice for God?

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