We don’t like to sacrifice, we never do.
But we do it all the time anyway mostly because of what is associated with it, or what is on the other side of it. That’s because sacrifice often brings reward.
The most attractive sacrifice is about giving up something of smaller or lesser value for something of bigger or greater value. We do this throughout our lives.
- You sacrificed the comfort of home to go away to college so you could learn and grow and get a degree.
- You sacrifice long hours at work to get ahead and be successful at your business.
- You sacrificed the flexibility and freedom of single life for the companionship and support of marriage.
- Parents sacrifice sleep for the joy of having children.
- Athletes sacrifice time and effort working out to get in shape and grow strong.
Sacrifice is also a spiritual exercise. It is how Jesus began his ministry, in his 40 day fast in the desert. Here at Nativity we are conducting a capital campaign this Lent, as a Lenten exercise, because it goes to the very heart of the season: sacrifice. Sacrifice is a spiritual discipline for spiritual growth. And for our campaign to be a success, for it to truly be a spiritual journey, there has got to be sacrifice.
Sacrifice from God’s perspective is all about the cross, as Paul explains to the Romans:
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Paul is teaching us that we’re basically helpless when it comes to God, he calls us “ungodly.” But then God stepped in at the appointed time. He sends his son to pay the debt, make up the difference and put us in a new place when it comes to God. In Jesus Christ, the ungodly are reconciled to God, and become godly.
And there is nothing we can do in response to the gift we have been given, except to repeat it. In the face and fact of God’s sacrifice all we can do is repeat it.
Our campaign, which we’re calling the Vision Campaign, is all about sacrifice. Vision always requires sacrifice. We want to create empty seats at optimal times so more people in our community can come to know Christ. We want to help our parishioners grow deeper in their discipleship, and we want to assist other churches elsewhere to do the same. The vision God is giving us requires our sacrifice.