What Do You Think Of When You Hear The Word "Sacrifice"?
What do you think of when you hear the word SACRIFICE? My first thought carries negative connotations. Giving something up that you really don’t want to, but feeling like you HAVE to.
Well let’s look at sacrifice defined:
destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else
an act of slaughtering an animal or person as an offering to God
an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded important
When I pondered these definitions of sacrifice, I saw that sacrifice brings about GOOD.
The freshest example of sacrifice in my life right now is my WORK….
I am a stay at home mom, and I homeschool my children. God called me to this, and I chose to obey. And truly, I am glad to be able to stay home with my children!
You may think, “Well, if it’s what you WANTED, then how could it be a sacrifice?” That is a fair question.
There are times when my job does NOT feel like a sacrifice. I LOVE being with my kids: playing with them, watching them grow and learn, seeing them love one another and act kindly, being able to guide them towards Christ throughout moments of the day.
But there are times when I struggle. Days where my job requires me to feel the ache of sacrifice.
My job requires me to be home for most of the day, on the clock from dawn to dusk, including night shift. It requires every ounce of my time and energy. Disciplining, correcting, and cleaning up after my kids are all daily tasks. And my job gives infrequent rests, both physically and mentally.
Sometimes, I grow weary and become discouraged while sacrificing. Do you feel as if you are sacrificing much? Have you grown weary in YOUR job?
Whatever earthly sacrifice you and I have been called to can be put into perspective when we survey the cross!
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the ULTIMATE sacrifice of all. He offered up His body as a sacrifice for MY sins. He suffered greatly in order for ME and YOU to be in a relationship with God the Father. This is the greatest and most important sacrifice.
Taking a closer look at this great and most important sacrifice, I turned to the Gospels to read the account of Jesus’ crucifixion. You can find it in Matthew 27:33-66 or John 19:16-42.
As I read through the accounts I was thinking, “Jesus was crucified, and suffered, on the cross on our behalf. What does that mean?”
I’ve seen so many depictions of the cross: dainty necklaces with diamonds on them, artistic tattoos, wall decorations for the home. However, we must remember what the cross represents, and that was actually a horrifying way for our Lord to die.
To gain perspective of what a crucifixion entails, I did a simple internet search, and this is what I learned:
"…a method of capital punishment" “public”
"the condemned man, after being whipped and scourged, dragged the crossbeam of his cross to the place of punishment”
"Stripped of his clothing either then or earlier at his scourging, he was bound fast with outstretched arms to the crossbeam or nailed firmly to it through the wrists."
"Death ultimately occurred through a combination of constrained blood circulation, organ failure, and asphyxiation as the body strained under its own weight.”
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. PUBLIC. SCOURGED. ORGAN FAILURE. SUFFOCATION.
Whoa. Christ went through this for us.
WHY? Why was Christ willing to sacrifice...to die a humiliating and terribly painful death for ME? At any moment He could have stopped it. But He didn’t.
Look at how Scripture addresses this question:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Isaiah 53:4-5 “He suffered the things we should have suffered. He took on Himself the pain that should have been ours. But we thought God was punishing Him. We thought God was wounding Him and making Him suffer. But the servant was pierced because we had sinned. He was crushed because we had done what was evil. He was punished to make us whole again. His wounds have healed us.”
It was God’s WILL that Christ bear my sins, and all of the world’s sins on Himself. He was the sacrifice. He took our punishment.
I didn’t do anything to deserve this. In fact, I did much that made me undeserving. I sinned against a HOLY God. I’m the one deserving of death on a cross! NOT Jesus. But, He was obedient to the Father. His death was the only way for us to be redeemed!
God cares for us when we are undeserving. This truth encourages and motivates me in my sacrifice for caring for my children, who sometimes act undeservedly.
When I read the Bible and see God’s love for me, when I ponder that He sacrificed for me when I was undeserving, when I focus on the sacrificial death of His son, Jesus Christ, and how He WILLINGLY suffered and died a horrifying death, it moves me to WORSHIP!
It focuses my mind on Him and drives my DESIRE to know Him more. And it allows me to grow in my relationship with Him. So when I have days where I feel like I’m sacrificing much, and it’s hard, I can remember Christ and His sacrifice! That it brought about GOOD. I can pause and Worship Him! I can continue to emulate Him, being willing to sacrifice for the undeserving.
Thank you God for always having a plan to redeem me to Yourself! Thank You! I praise You for Jesus’ sacrifice. That He shed His blood so that I may be saved from my sin! That I may spend eternity with Him in heaven!
National Geographic has a detailed description of Crucifixion. You can read it here.
Shellie Mueller is married to her very best friend, Levi. She has 4 amazing and hilarious kids who she is blessed to be able to stay home with. Motherhood is her most challenging and rewarding feat yet and it keeps her pressing into Jesus! Jesus has always been important to her. During her college years is when she truly grew in her walk with God. She learned how to study the Bible and apply it to her everyday life, and she's still learning! She enjoys studying the Word with other women, preferably over yummy food or coffee!