Sacrifice and Success

My wife watches movies with me that she would not choose to watch (movies that include considerable gun fire and leaping from building to building). I watch movies with her that I would not choose to watch (this includes almost all musicals). A good marriage is made up of multiple “mini” sacrifices by both husband and wife. Any successful relationship requires that both will have to sacrifice their own wishes in favor of the other person’s wishes.

Life’s not only made up of many mini sacrifices but big sacrifices too, and such stories of sacrifice are inspiring. We honor fallen war heroes for making the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. We admire the person who sacrifices a kidney so that a stranger can live.

As much as we admire stories of sacrifice, and as quickly as we’re willing to declare the value of sacrifice, we sure don’t like to sacrifice! It’s costly and is not “fun” to carry out. We don’t want to give in to compromise, give when we know we’re going to give more than we’ll get, or give when there’s no expectation of receiving something in return at all.

And yet it’s an irrevocable principle of life that sacrifice is what makes life worth living. We only achieve something of value by sacrificing time and effort. Author Tim Keller writes, “We know that anybody who has ever done anything that really made a difference in our lives made a sacrifice, stepped in and gave something or paid something or bore something so we would not have to.” (The Prodigal Prophet p.154)

The message of Christianity, the central theme of the Gospel, is that Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. Christians believe that it’s because of His sacrifice for us that we can have a meaningful and eternal relationship with God. His ultimate sacrifice sets the standard by which we’re to live our lives, sacrificing for those within our sphere of influence so that we can have more meaningful relationships with each other. The operative word for a fulfilled life is the word sacrifice. Sacrifice makes the world go ‘round!

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

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