Sunday, July 14, 2013
I have thought a lot recently about what it means to sacrifice something. Typically, the word "sacrifice" has a negative connotation in our minds, but it does not have to be so. To me, sacrificing one's time, effort, resources, comfort, and countless other things in order to promote a just cause will bless beyond measure. Sure, you may miss out on something you want to do or have, but I think this is outweighed by the impact you can have. For example, sacrificing an afternoon of watching television to volunteer at a homeless shelter. Temporally, there is no reason for you to do so. But, such service will help you grow, widen your perspective, and make you happier. It's amazing how giving up a small portion of what you have helps you to recognize how much you truly do have and how blessed you are. Here's the catch though, you can't just physically sacrifice something in order to be changed. If your heart is not in it, or you give it up begrudgingly or just to appease others' expectations, you will not be as effective as you could be. You may certainly help someone and meet their needs, but imagine how much sweeter of an experience it would be to sacrifice what you have with a humble heart and a loving attitude. In life, especially I think at my stage of it, we get so caught up in trying to plan our futures, take care of our needs, and make sure that we are getting everything that we want, that we forget to serve others. I know from experience that this state of mind is ultimately more stressful and unhappy. Helping others, making sacrifices, and giving service with love makes you feel more fulfilled and allows you to worry about others instead of yourself. Turning your thoughts to other people widens your view, puts your problems into perspective, and helps you learn that maybe you aren't as bad off as it seemed before. Of course, we do have to reasonably take care of ourselves, but there are many supposed "needs" that we attend to that are probably more like "wants" in our daily lives. Sacrifice takes trust in the Lord that He will help you and bless you to accomplish all that you truly do need to do, along with serving others. If you think about it, if everyone in the world gave service to those around them, everyone would have several people helping them and thinking of their needs and providing support, instead of trying to take on only their own worries all at once. Sacrifice brings people together and deepens their love and compassion. Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for all of mankind. This supreme act of love brings Christ close to us, as He has felt and understands all of our pains and sorrows. If Jesus Christ could suffer and sacrifice everything for everyone, how selfish is it of us to not give up a small, insignificant want for a fellow human's need? Finally, I believe the key to serving and sacrificing for others is respect. You may not agree with or be in the same situation as another, but they are still a person of worth and deserve to be treated with respect. It is easy to be angry, it is easy to be offended -- what is hard is to love someone despite the differences you have. I am definitely not any where near being good at this, but I understand now that I want to be. Everyone on Earth is God's child, and we all deserve to be treated as such. We all need love, help, and validation. I invite you to try sacrificing something for someone this week that you may have trouble dealing with, or that you usually do not get along with. Do something to serve someone who is not close to you, and see the change that can develop in both of you.