No, not that "S" word. Or, THAT "S" word. Not Spurrier either. I'm talking about an "S" word that I fear people do not truly comprehend: Sacrifice.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word sacrifice as follows: To forfeit (one thing) for another thing considered to be of greater value. And, as much as we like to toss around this word, the painful truth is this: we consider ourselves to be of greater value than others.
If we didn't, we would embrace sacrifice. We would look for opportunities to give up more for the benefit of others. We'd spend less, we'd serve more, we'd give more, we'd love more. We'd let Johnnie over in front of us in bumper to pumper traffic.
Some equate the word sacrifice with inconvenience. According to Dictionary.com, inconvenience is "something that causes discomfort, trouble, etc." And, while a sacrifice may result in our discomfort at times, it shouldn't be regarded as a negative term.
But, we make it seem negative, don't we? When we are faced with actually having to make sacrifices, we lament. We gripe. We mope. And, after lamenting, griping, and moping, we convince ourselves that sacrificing isn't worth all the self-imposed grief. So we take a step back up the ladder, often times stepping on others' fingers.
The adversary to sacrifice is entitlement. It’s on the other end of the spectrum. It’s when we believe we deserve the best, almost always at the expense of others. The Apostle Paul had something else – something far better - in mind. Check this out:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:3-5 (NIV)
I bolded two things there: (1) We are told to think of others as better than us. Say what? Somebody’s better than me? More important than me? You’re asking the wrong questions. Paul says to “consider.” So, instead of asking ourselves if we’re being overlooked, we should ask ourselves if we’re considering others.
(2) Consideration is an action that is dictated by our attitude. Jesus only considered one thing when He was on earth: his Father’s will, which meant loving and serving others to the extreme.
Jesus had something much better in mind when he came to earth. He viewed sacrifice as an opportunity to glorify His Father. He knew that by decreasing himself, others would increase - and ultimately God Himself would be reflected in his actions.
But, by sending His son to earth, God also knew there was a cost. He was giving up (forfeiting) His only son temporarily for "another thing considered to be of greater value" - you and me.
We don't have to die a physical, tormented death in order to sacrifice for others, but we do have "die to self" in many respects. You and I have opportunities each and every day to make choices that affect the lives of countless others - whether we realize it or not.
It's not easy, but it's rewarding. And sacrificing is a great way to remind ourselves that it's not about us. It's about God, and it's about others. Others who don't know Him, or may have walked away from Him. And, we have the ability to bridge that gap by putting ourselves aside and giving people a better view of the One who loves them most.