Everyday Heroes - Sacrifice

On Sept. 10, 2010, Brian and Erin were traveling through Washington to visit family when a vehicle began weaving wildly, headed right for them. Brian swerved to ensure that he would take the worst of the hit as the vehicle slammed into them. He was killed instantly. If he had he not made that decision, the collision would have been head-on, likely resulting in the deaths of Brian, Erin and their unborn child. But, instead, Erin and baby are okay. Brian Wood will never hold his baby, but there's no doubt that baby will know the hero who gave it life. Source

Everyday heroes know what sacrifice is.  It is part of what propels them into action and places them in a position to be used to impact their world.  Sacrifice can take on so many shapes and sizes. It becomes hard to picture what it really looks like.

Sacrifice is defined…

an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure.
an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

Even with the definition of sacrifice it’s hard for us to completely understand what it looks like. Sometimes it’s better to look at what sacrifice is not to better understand what it is. Here’s a great depiction of sacrifice done wrong.

As we’ll find it’s not the worth of the sacrifice it’s the heart of the person making the sacrifice that matters.  Lets start by asking what you would sacrifice. 

What’s a comfortable sacrifice for you?

What’s a sacrifice that would hurt a little?

A lot?

What’s a sacrifice that would be more than you could handle?

Let’s look at a sacrifice that caught the eye of Christ.  Its worth was very little but the condition of the givers heart made it priceless.

The Widows Sacrifice

Luke 21:1-4
New English Translation (NET)
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.”

Here we find a widow that sacrificed everything she owned to bring honor and glory to God. Her sacrificial act turned the head of Jesus and served as an opportunity for him to express gratitude, appreciation, and use this circumstance to teach all of Christendom what true sacrifice looks like.  Below are three principles that we find in the widow’s sacrifice.  These principles are timeless truths that can come to life in us, as we desire to bring honor and glory to God in all we do.

The Widows Identity – Perfected in Christ

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

She was a widow, a female, and poor.  Her worldly circumstances would dictate that she feel inadequate, bitter, hopeless, and less that human.  Her faith in God dictates she is priceless, important, joyous, and not of this world.  Her Identity was formed through her faith in God.  Her faith gave her the strength to give everything she had, knowing that God loved her so much that he would continue to provide for her every need. What is your identity formed through? Do you have the widow’s kind of faith?  Faith in God gives you the strength to be willing to sacrifice or leverage any and everything God has given you.

The Widows Actions – Performed for Christ

Romans 12:1
Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service.

This is subjection, but I believe this single story is just one of many stories that could have been shared from this widows life.  This sacrifice is indicative of a life that lived as a sacrifice performed for Christ.  She was a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. If your life was summed up in one story what would be the theme of that story?  Would it be about you or God?

The Widows Heart – Pounds with Christ

2 Corinthians 9:7
Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver.

The widow identified herself with Christ and served him with her life.  Each step of her sacrifice was in step with what the Lord truly wanted for her life.  She could give everything because her heart did not beat alone.  Her heart pounds with Christ.  Not for, not in, but with Christ.  Believing that Christ is present with you every moment of the day should be something to celebrate. He has fought for us, defeated death, and made a way for us to return to God.  She gave because she had been given life in and through Jesus.  Is Jesus’ sacrifice enough for you?  Does it free you to sacrificially give your life for others?

Families are attacked from every direction.  The Church has lost its reputation of being a place of truth and hope.  Our communities have become isolated and fearful of relationships.  Christians are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, but afraid to truly release control of their lives. All of these things are happening because of a lack of sacrifice.  If we believe we are perfected in Christ, perform for Christ, and our heart pounds with Christ then sacrifice becomes about revealing the power of God.  In other words, our sacrifice is not about what we’ve had to give up, it’s about what we’ve been given.  God paid the ultimate sacrifice so we wouldn’t have to.

What’s a comfortable sacrifice for you?

What’s a sacrifice that would hurt a little?

A lot?

What’s a sacrifice that would be more than you could handle?

Has God’s sacrifice made a way for you to sacrifice no matter the cost?