Is Sacrifice Another Word for Blessing?
We share an unspoken desire motivated by the need to provide for our families, care and nurture our children, love and honor our parents, and perhaps make the world a better place. We pray that our efforts are blessed, perhaps so that others won’t have to face the struggles we have endured. We can point to, and perhaps boast about, our accomplishments; but, often fail to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of others, including God. It may be we lack humility, but I would rather believe we simply take our blessings for granted. When we take our blessing for granted, Hebrews 13:16 (MSG) reminds us of their true purpose:
“Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.”
Everything that we have, comes to us as blessings from God, but all too often they are described as material gains. “When people think about being blessed usually people think about material blessings. Contrary to what others think a blessing from God isn’t prosperity. God could indeed give you a financial blessing, but it’s to further help others in need and not to turn materialistic (F. Chery, May 2018).
It seems contrary that we would work hard and sacrifice just to share our blessings. According to the Collins English Dictionary, “if you sacrifice something that is valuable or important, you give it up, usually to obtain something else for yourself or for other people.” This may be an appropriate use of the word sacrifice; but its motivation is self-serving. “Sacrifice, in the Bible, is not just giving up something you would rather keep. In this context, it merely means any offering to God.”
God doesn’t have a need for us (Acts 17:24-25, NLV). He certainly isn’t in the business of trading for blessings. He isn’t in the business of fulfilling our wants but our needs; but He requires “sacrifice.”
What sacrifice does God require? “The Bible ties sacrifice with love, mercy, humility, and justice.” We are asked to “sacrifice” love towards God and our neighbors (Mark 12:33, John 15:12-14), mercy (Matthew 9:13), and justice and judgment (Proverbs 21:3). Sacrifice is easy, especially when loved ones are harmed; but it isn’t hard to see that the “sacrifices” we are asked to make are also the blessings we receive through Christ. If it feels that you have don’t have the energy or can’t make these sacrifices, 2 Corinthians 9:8 (GNT) reminds us:
“And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.”
We are blessed not only to meet our needs but so that we can bless others (Genesis 12:2, VOICE). There are many ways that we can sacrifice while blessing others and serving God. Here are a few suggestions on serving the needs of others by sharing our:
- Time – Carve out time to be with others. Get up from behind the desk and walk. This practice described as “Management by Wandering Around” (MBWA) allow you not only talk to and learn about people, but also learn about problems people have with their work.
- Advice – “People lose their way without wise leadership, but a nation succeeds and stands in victory when it has many good counselors to guide it” (Proverbs 11:14, TPT).
- Mentor - Your experiences, both professional and personal, provide you a wealth of information that can benefit others; helping to avoid costly mistakes and learn valuable lessons. “Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance (Proverbs 1:5, NLT).
- Presence – Eliminate distractions and be present. Put the tablet away and turn off the tv. When you are with someone, give them your full attention.
- Empathy/Compassion – Rather than criticism offer empathy and compassion. Remember when you made a mistake. If you didn’t receive these, didn’t you wish you had?
- Respect – Respect is a deep emotional connection given to demonstrate the esteem that we have for others. We value the individual because of their abilities, qualities or achievements. When we serve the needs of others, we demonstrate our respect for them as individuals.
I hope that you notice the first letter of each suggestion forms the spelling of the word “TAMPER”, oddly enough it is usually defined in negative terms. However, it is possible to tamper or intervene in a positive way. When we “tamper”, as described above, we sacrifice ourselves and provide others with hope. Christopher Reeves, known to many for his portrayal of Superman, said:
”When we have hope, we discover powers within ourselves we may have never known - the power to make sacrifices, to endure, to heal, and to love. Once we choose hope, everything is possible.”
Remember, when you sacrifice it can be a blessing to someone else. Many have described the power of a kind act, or word, given at the right time as a blessing. I don’t think that it is too simplistic to believe, that your sacrifice just might be the instrument God uses to bless someone else; after all He has done a lot more with much less.
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