Friday, April 6, 2012
TRUE JOY COMES THROUGH SACRIFICE
The grass in my Backyard Bowl is growing faster than Jack’s beanstalk. Soon it will be time for me to mow—and here I sit with a wadzillion writing and marketing projects facing me. But I can’t have the woods encroaching clear to my doorstep. If I neglect the mowing, soon mosquitoes and other little critters will take over. I’ll just have to resign myself to do the mowing, come hail or high water. But from experience I know the sacrifice will be worth volumes. I’ll find joy in the exercise and fresh air, I’ll gain time away from my office to spend with Jesus in prayer, and I’ll learn something new and inspiring that I can share through my writing. Can you find joy in some sacrifice today?
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
When my grandmother was eight years old, her mom died. Her oldest sister broke the engagement with her fiancé to help their dad raise Grandma and her five other siblings. Grandma’s sister never married. I think often of the grand sacrifice she made for the sake of her family.
Many parents sacrifice their time, talents, and careers in order to nurture their children. Couples also are willing to make compromises in order to strengthen their marriages. Such sacrifices may be expected, and can certainly bring joy, especially when the benefits become apparent.
We think about the sacrifices our servicemen and women give, too—in their time away from home, job, and family, and in their willingness to die for our country. We read stories about other people who have given their lives to save others: fire fighters, parents, everyday citizens, even children.
During this Easter week we reflect on God’s ultimate sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s difficult to imagine that the Creator of the universe, the all-powerful God, would bend so low as to offer His only Son for our sake. His reason, pure and simple, is His unbounded love for us. The apostle Paul prayed that we “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height …” of Christ’s love, “which passes knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)
Most of us probably know the most recognizable verse in the Bible, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:17 reads: “for God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Throughout history, people everywhere—including God’s chosen Israelites—witnessed miracle after miracle and yet chose to turn away from Him. God did not give up on mankind, however. He sent Jesus to dwell among men in the most humble manner possible that we might live. Jesus our great Shepherd, became our sacrificial lamb. He who knew no sin willingly, joyfully took on our sin that we can be restored as His children. There is no father on earth like our heavenly Father.
And through the miraculous miracle of Jesus’ bodily resurrection, we who truly believe in Him no longer need to fear death.
Lord, we thank You and rejoice in Your unsurpassed love that promises us life after death. As You sacrificed Your Son, Jesus, for our sake, help us to sacrifice ourselves for Your sake by loving others joyfully.