ugly word sacrifice
PASADENA, CALIF. — Because
my family was relatively poor, I couldn’t understand why my dad was
so generous. From the family car to our living room furniture, he gave things
away to people in need.
One day, while sitting cross-legged
on the floor where my favorite recliner once sat, I asked, “Dad, why
do you give away all our stuff — you earned it, don’t you deserve
He smiled as if anticipating my
question: “Life isn’t about what you can get; it’s about
what you can give away,” he replied.
Somehow I knew he was right, but
as a 10-year-old boy I didn’t care much for his theology. Other kids
wore new tennis shoes, rode expensive bicycles and bragged about huge allowances.
I couldn’t help but blame our poverty on my dad’s generosity.
As a teenager, I finally realized
my dad wasn’t reckless in his sacrifice. He was simply following the
teachings of Jesus and investing in people. Today there are men and women
serving God because they were blessed by Dad’s acts of kindness.
Sacrifice is not a popular message
today because many measure success by tangible possessions rather than by
treasures in heaven. They gauge God’s blessing by how much they can
consume rather than by what they can share.
Some of the most joyful, fulfilled
people I know have a spirit of generosity — much like the Macedonian
believers in 2 Corinthians 8:2-5: “Out of the most severe trial, their
overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For
I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their
ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege
of sharing in this service to the saints. ... They gave themselves first to
the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will” (NIV).
God promises to bless sacrificial
givers in 2 Corinthians 9:6: “Whoever sows generously will also reap
God may not ask us to give away
our La-Z-Boy or the family car, but He wants us to live as though “sacrifice”
is a beautiful word.
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