No sacrifice should be too great for Him who gave Himself for us. ~ Harry Ironside
“Hello. How are you?”
She ambled over to my register, face drawn tight like bedroom curtains at midnight. Two bedding items dropped heavily on the countertop, followed by a shiny soap dispenser and a small vase, both covered by peach hand towels and their matching washclothes.
“Did you find everything okay today?”
She was in her mid-70’s, clad in a seashell-dotted shirt and matching teal capris, a turquoise necklace and matching bracelet clanking against tiny silver bangles on her wrists. In her sun-bleached face were lines etched with weariness and life’s heavy burdens.
“Oh, not really. I was looking for…” I listened as she mentioned a kitchen item we were currently out of in our Homegoods store. I apologized and mentioned to check back in a couple of days.
“I love the blush pink and light blue together.” I really did. The quilt was spring-like, light and fanciful colors with flowers dotted throughout. “It’s pretty, and the pink sheets match perfectly. My hubby doesn’t like flower patterns though, so I probably wouldn’t get it.”
One of my favorite things about my job is chatting with customers, but her next words were like fire ant bites, sharp and prickling and uncomfortable.
“Who cares what your husband likes! Get what you want. Why are we always sacrificing for them and not…” She continued as I totaled her purchase and wrapped her items. Before I step through the doors at work I pray God would use me to be a blessing to others, and He kept a smile on my face through her tirade.
“…just get what you want to get. Ridiculous.”
I handed the receipt across the counter, wished her a good day and Happy Easter, and watched her march out the door. One gritty word rang through my mind, three days from Good Friday and five days from Easter Sunday.
Sacrifice is giving up something valued or precious to another, whether it’s our pride, our time, our talents, physical gifts or money, or our dreams. In marriage, sacrifice is a personal, often-undervalued gift spouses give to each other, and marriage without it will wither and die like a plant left in a dark garage corner. Sacrificing for our children provides an example of the love of our Savior to young hearts and minds still learning who He is.
Sacrifice is woven throughout the Bible, a gift given to our Creator showing love for Him and reminding us that He comes first in our lives, and culminating in God’s greatest sacrifice for us – Jesus. At Easter I’m overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the suffering Jesus willingly accepted on Calvary for our sake and our sin.
Jesus. Son of God, Son of man, and the perfect sacrifice.
Oswald Chambers wrote, “Our Lord is our example of a life of self-sacrifice, and He perfectly exemplified Psalm 40:8, ‘I delight to do Your will, O my God…’ He endured tremendous personal sacrifice, yet with overflowing joy.”
It’s a debt we can’t repay, nor were we intended to. But today – Good Friday – I remember that when we sacrifice for others, we honor our Savior, and our self-centered hearts are softened and made pliable for God’s Holy Spirit when we willingly give of ourselves for others.
We can sacrifice with our words…”Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15); with our actions…”But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16); and with our lives…”you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
As we celebrate the darkness and beauty of Good Friday and the Hope of eternal life on resurrection Sunday, remember God has called believers to be a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:2).
“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” ~ Mark 16:6