Sacrifice is defined as the giving up of something valuable for something we believe to be of higher value or importance. In other words, we will give up something, even if we love it, if we believe that we are giving it up for something better, or for something we consider to be worth it. I think the key here is that we give up something of value to us. A sacrifice doesn’t involve giving up something that we wouldn’t miss, or would at least have an impact of some kind by surrendering it.
There are things that we sacrifice that should not be sacrificed, though. We give to things that have less value than that which we are giving. What does that look like? It’s the extra time at work instead of home with those we love. It’s the time in the TV instead of with our kids. It is a beautiful Saturday spent doing the things we should have done during the week instead of investing in our wife or husband. Where we choose to make our sacrifices say a lot about us, and about what we believe to have more value. The question is, what message are we sending?
What about our money? “Uh oh, time to stop reading I guess.” No, stay with me. What kind of sacrifices do we make with our money? Don’t get me wrong, I know that the last few years have been pretty rough. Believe me, if anyone understands, I do. But, I have also had the chance to see God do amazing things in the last year that have strengthened my faith. I’ve seen Him provide where there was no other provision. Part of that was because of a decision my wife and I made regarding tithing. Now, she has always been a giver, and has always had the heart for tithing. I was a harder sell. With the times the way they were, and with our income cut so drastically, I didn’t think we could afford to tithe. What I hadn’t realized was that we couldn’t afford not to.
Time after time, we saw God give back. I saw His provision when there was no provision elsewhere to be found. It was honestly a time of complete dependence. If we received money, it was clearly from Him, and so, we returned it. When we did, He blessed us. We gave more when we had less. It was the opposite of what we could call natural thinking. There was a time when we made significantly more money, and gave basically nothing back to Him. And then, the Lord “taketh away.” He taught us that He could do more with what we sacrificed, or what we gave sacrificially than what we could do on our own.
It led me to think of Isaiah 55:8, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” This has been proven so true! Only God can take less and do more. Only God can do what we see as impossible. Only He can take a few fish a couple loaves of bread and feed thousands of people. His ways are so, so much higher than mine!
So, back to the original point. What is our sacrifice now? In Luke 21, we read about a woman who made a sacrifice that to others probably seemed small. Jesus, however, knew her heart, her situation, and what type of sacrifice it was for her.
1 While Jesus was in the temple, He watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor woman has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny portion of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
Please notice, this is not an indictment against those who are “rich” or financially blessed. What Jesus was taking note of was the sacrifice involved in what was being given. He addressed the sacrifice (or lack of) that they made. To them that could have given more, they didn’t. To the woman who could not have given more, she gave it all. Jesus made it a point to address this.
When God looks at what I give, when He looks at what you give, does He see sacrifice? Or, does He see the wrong sacrifice in the wrong areas of your life? Do you sacrifice time with the family? Do you sacrifice things that are far more worthy than what you are dedicating yourself to? Is the sacrifice you are giving an actual sacrifice? You have to truly look at it for what it’s worth.
“Heavenly Father, Lord, Jesus, Abba, help me to search my heart. Help me to see the areas in which I am not sacrificing the way You have called me to sacrifice. Show me where I am sacrificing the wrong things, and where I am, show me how to change it then give me the strength and willpower to change it. Help me to have a giving heart. If a sacrifice is something that is of worth, then I want to give my best to you. Show me what that looks like. Show me what You want from me. I want only what You want. In Your holy, precious name, Jesus, Amen.”