Sacrifice – The surrender of something valued or desired, especially ones life, for the sake of something regarded as more important or worthy , or in order to avoid a greater loss.
Sacrifice is an unpopular concept in modern American thought. We have been conditioned to think that we must sacrifice nothing, and that sacrifice is a sign of weakness. To the contrary, people who know how to sacrifice are some of the strongest people in the world.
Let me tell you the story of an obscure Japanese Ambassador.
Chiune Sugihara was born on a day of new beginnings January 1, 1900. As a boy, he cherished the dream of becoming the Japanese ambassador to Russia. By the 1930s, he was the ambassador to Lithuania, just a step away from Russia.
One morning, a huge throng of people gathered outside his home. They were Jews who had made their way across treacherous terrain from Poland desperately seeking his help. They wanted Japanese visas which would enable them to flee Eastern Europe and the Gestapo.
Three times Sugihara wired Tokyo for permission to provide the visas; three times he was rejected. He had to choose between the fulfillment of his dream as an ambassador and people’s lives. He chose the latter. He dared to disobey orders. For twenty-eight days he wrote visas by hand, barely sleeping or eating. Recalled to Tokyo, he was still writing visas and shoving them through the train windows into the hands of the refugees who ran alongside. Ultimately, he saved six thousand lives.
Sugihara was not only a courageous Japanese, he was also a committed Christian. He spent his remaining days in Japan, humbly selling light bulbs. When his story was finally told, his son was asked, “How did your father feel about his choice?” The young man replied, “My father’s life was fulfilled. When God needed him to do the right thing, he was available to do it.”
Most of us will not be faced with the level of sacrifice that was thrust upon Ambassador Sugihara, but if we were, I hope that we would all be able to show his level of courage and commitment. The true meaning of sacrifice is to be able to give up something precious for the sake of someone else. We should not spend our lives looking for that great sacrifice but preparing for when it comes.
We may never be called upon to make an ultimate sacrifice, but we need learn to make those small sacrifices that define out lives. A life that is defined by selfishness and greed has no joy. God created us for joy and abundance and the realization that we are all our brothers’ keepers. In order to live life to the fullest, we must be willing to make sacrifices. There are sacrifices to God and to our neighbors.
Sacrifice does not bring scarcity but abundance. The fruits of sacrifice are blessing, joy and fulfillment. As we condition ourselves to be willing and able to sacrifice with this knowledge, we begin to see a new and greater world.
Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers, and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.
~~~Thérèse of Lisieux
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.
Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness.
~~~ Napoleon Hill
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.
As my sufferings mounted, I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.
~~~Martin Luther King Jr.
The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.
Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.
The happiness of love is in action; its test is what one is willing to do for others.
Truth often sacrificed for the sake of stability and peace.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the first fruits of all your crops.
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
When you sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that you may be accepted.
~~~Leviticus 22:29Lord, Sacrifice is a hard thing. I was born with a nature to keep and accumulate, but you taught me by your own sacrifice the value of giving for others. Let your example be the blueprint and guide for my life. I ask you this day to give me the courage and strength to sacrifice for others as the need arises. May I learn the blessings of living a life of selflessness.