I don't believe we as 21st century American Christians understand that word.
We've been reading a biography about Adoniram and Ann Judson this week. Wow. Talk about people who truly sacrificed!
Adoniram and Ann Judson were American missionaries who went to Burma, which is now modern-day Myanmar. But the hardships didn't just begin in Burma.
Ann Judson had her first child on the voyage from America to Burma. Think about it...this was the early 1800's and she gave birth to her first baby, who was stillborn, in a filthy sailing ship. I just gave birth 4 months ago and it makes my heart ache as I try to wrap my brain around the dismal circumstances. There wasn't a midwife, clean sheets, a shower, or even a place to wash your clothing....can you just imagine? I know I can't. And then to have to say goodbye to your baby and throw them overboard to be buried at sea?
A lesser woman would have called it quits and caught the first ship back to America. But not Ann.
Later she and Adoniram had their second child, Roger, who died at seven months old. Again my heart breaks at the thought.
Through all of the hardships, Ann continued to faithfully serve the Lord alongside her husband. They adopted two Burmese girls and later Ann gave birth to their third child while her husband was in what was called, "Death Prison."
You know what's so sad? We modern day Christians, we quit when somebody hurts our feelings. Or God doesn't answer prayer like we want. And we think we are doing God a favor by reading our Bible, attending one church service a week, or that we are "sacrificing" when we give our tithe now and then.
Sacrifice. No, we've never truly sacrificed.
But Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice was given for you and for me...He took my sin as His own, bore it on the cross, was rejected by His Father and paid the price, my sin debt, with His blood! Do you understand that sacrifice? Have you tasted of the water of life that Christ freely gives?
Throughout the centuries many have sacrificed not only the comforts of this world, but their lives to share Christ with others. You can read about some of those heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, Foxe's Book of Martyrs, or just by simply reading the biographies of missionaries like Jim Elliot.
Sacrifice = Surrendering all to the One who gave it all.
Are you willing?
This post is part of the photography challenge Project 52 with My3boybarians. Last week's pic: Foolin' Around