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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sacrifice as Seen from the Kitchen Door

Sometimes we vacillate between indulgence and grand sacrifice when all God really wants is obedience. (from The President's Devotions by Joshua Dubois, July 28th).

I have a friend in prison that I turn to on occasion for a topic to discuss on my blog.  Yesterday he suggested that I write on sacrifice.  This is a hard one to write about since sacrifice always implies some level of pain.  At the same time it carries the meaning that you give up something when you don't want to.  This raises the curious question, if you decide to give up something because you do want to (say you find what you see as a more meaningful avenue for your efforts) is it still sacrifice even though the pain is supplanted by a larger, more generous, and even pleasurable purpose?

It is impossible for me to think along these lines without thinking of my hard working and energetic mother.  She worked like a Trojan caring for our family. I honestly think she did not regret one minute not having time to be a woman of leisure for she obtained considerable meaning and self-worth from her caring chores.  There will be skeptics who will laugh at my conclusion, but there will be many others (thinking of their own moms) who will agree that such is not only possible but is often the fact.  In short, sacrifice need not always imply pain on the one hand or a perverted masochism on the other.  It is quite possible to sacrifice with the beauty and peace of a sunflower standing tall.

When Jesus tells us to serve the "least of these," he is not saying to us, "Punish yourself," but rather "Reward yourself!" When you reach out to others as Jesus did, you will discover and important new reason for your existence. (Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, page 212).

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