Why Make Sacrifices?

There’s an old joke about a pig and a chicken. A  poor farmer came to the barnyard because he was  low on food. He had one pig and one chicken left.  “Who will put food on my table?” the farmer asked. “I  will” said the chicken, and laid an egg. The pig didn’t  answer. The chicken asked the pig why he wouldn’t  contribute some ham. The pig replied, “For you it’s a  contribution, but for me it’s a sacrifice.”

Like the people in Malachi’s day, we offer God  what we have in abundance—or the leftovers—and  never consider making a real sacrifice. But why should  we make such a sacrifice that will cost us something of  great value? Let’s consider what the scripture teaches.

First, we make sacrifices to show our love for God.  The apostle Paul encouraged the church at Corinth to  give sacrificially. He said in 2 Corinthians 8:8,  “I speak  not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness  of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.” Their  giving would prove the sincerity of their love for God.  Either they really loved God, or they didn’t love God and  only appeared to love God. Therefore, sacrificial giving  is one way to show that we truly love God. Paul gives the  example of the sacrifice of Christ in the next verse (9):  “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that,  though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,  that ye through his poverty might be rich.” His sacrifice  demonstrated His love for God (John 14:31).

Second, we make sacrifices to show our love for  man. Certainly God showed His love for man when he  gave His Son (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8-9). The apostle John  recognized this when he wrote,  “Herein is love, not that  we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to  be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Presaging  his own death, Jesus said , “Greater love hath no man  than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Certainly Jesus demonstrated His own  love for His fellow man when he sacrificed His life. And  in 1 John 4:11, John wrote,  “Beloved, if God so loved  us, we ought also to love one another.” Notice the little  word “so” in this verse. It is an adverb of manner. The  emphasis is upon  how God loved us. That is the kind of  love we should have for one another. Making sacrifices  shows our love for one another.

Third, we make sacrifices to imitate God in Christ.  Both God and Christ have shown sacrificial love for man,  and as the exemplars of absolute truth and righteousness,  we must follow their example. Paul said to imitate him  as he imitated Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). Peter told us to  walk in the steps of Christ by making great sacrifices of  suffering (1 Pet. 2:21). And, of course, Paul’s discussion  of Christ’s sacrifice in Philippians 2:6-8 was preceded  by the thought,  “Have this mind in you which was also  in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). God and Christ are worthy  of our imitation. In running our race, we look to Jesus,  the author and finisher of the faith (Heb. 12:1-2). The  sacrifices that God and Christ made for the benefit of  mankind are sacrifices worthy of imitation.

Truly we show our love for God and man by  making sacrifices. The contrary is also true; those who  refuse to make sacrifices demonstrate their lack of love  for God and man. They also show their true character  by failing to imitate God and Christ in their life. The  result is the gradual promotion of self within their life,  and the stain of selfishness soiling their words and  deeds. The two greatest commands cannot be fulfilled  without making sacrifice. Jesus said,  “Thou shalt love  the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy  soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great  commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou  shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37-39).  Putting God first, and our neighbor second, we cannot  but be involved in making sacrifices. May God help us  to realize the true nature of sacrifice and its relationship  to loving God and our fellow man!

This entry was posted in Kevin Cauley and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.