Sacrifice is by definition: the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
They showed a brief video at my church yesterday that was to promote people making some small sacrifices (ie: their morning Starbucks) for the greater good of putting that money towards the youth center we have not been able to finish due to money. Giving up something you prize or that is desirable to you in order that you can invest in the future of the youth of Tampa. What an appropriate challenge. How few things are more valuable than the next generation, our future.
Above and beyond the youth center for our church - I have been thinking about the bigger image of sacrifice in my life. I played the defintions that were read over and over in my head. Thinking of each piece, one by one. What do I prize? What do I define as desirable? And what am I willing to destroy or surrender so that I may contribute to something far more valuable?
Something prized. I find myself stuck on these two words. This brings to memory when lent would roll around in college and people would give up stuff that to be honest I would think to myself was pointless or stupid. I once knew someone who gave up beer, but not alcohol. Maybe this would have been a big sacrifice for some college kids, but this particular friend didn't actually like beer. Hmm? Sacrifice? Not quite fitting of the definition. I never participated in lent, being a non-denominational Christian myself - but I imagine that at that point in my life I probably would have picked something equally unsacrificial. How often we miss the mark.
Sacrifice is giving up something that you prize. A treasure. Why? Knowing that by giving this up you are making way for something greater but possibly not as tangible. What a concept this is and so hard for many of us - perhaps hardest for those of us who are still quite young. We live in a society that thrives on immediate results. We text because we can get the answers we desire without having to wait for that person to finish a meeting, class, lunch, etc. Our time frame is now.
When I think of sacrifice in terms of my own life it is for long-term good. Good that will probably not reveal itself today, tomorrow, or even next month. So how do I do this without losing heart? How do I sacrifice now for future benefits? What will keep me from losing sight of that prize when I cannot see, feel, or touch the results of now? How do I keep inspired?
If you're hoping that I hold all the answers to that question within my own possession than I wish to let you down gently. As best I can come to terms with it in my own mind this is where we require faith. Much like leaping off the side of the pool before you know how to swim and believing that your Dad will be there to catch you. My prayer this week has been that childlike faith. The kind that doesn't require a backup plan. If he doesn't catch me and I hit the water I'm not wearing a life vest "just in case".
I have chosen a starting place for sacrifice in my own life - and I'm leaping in Faith!