Sacrificial Service

We live in a selfish generation today and people find it very hard to sacrifice themselves for others.  We have all kinds of excuses:  “We are busy and don’t have time for others, we have our own problems, we can’t afford it, people should take care of themselves and leave me alone, people will just take advantage of my kindness, etc.”

“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Luke 14:11 NLT)

Luke 14 follows a scene where Jesus sets an example of putting others first and sacrificing yourself for them.  He described a feast at the home of a prominent Pharisee where many people were invited.  Some of the guests were of noble stature and because of that expected to sit at the head of the table.  Jesus noticed how the guests picked their places of honor at the table and He told the Pharisees that, 

“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.  If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests.’” Luke 14:8-10

When I think about people who have sacrificed their lives for others, I think of military veterans. They leave their family and friends to serve all.  They leave their jobs and livelihood to make sure we have the freedom to have a livelihood. They risk their physical life so that we may live.

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  (1 John 3:16 NLT)

My parents are also my role models of sacrifice.  My dad went to college after I was born to become a civil engineer and was able to provide a very good lifestyle for my mother, my brother and me.  But when God called my dad into the ministry, he gave it all up to serve the Lord.  My mother supported him 100%.  There is a big difference in salaries between an engineer and a preacher!  He made his first move to full time ministry when I was a junior in high school.  

After pastoring the church for a few years, my parents felt called to leave the church and go overseas to serve as missionaries in Haiti.  Once again, not only did they sacrifice even more financially, they left behind family, their daughter (me) and a brand new grandbaby (my first born son) to serve and minister to others who needed Jesus.  They gave away most of their personal possessions and stored what few items they had left in storage until they returned several years later.  Upon returning from Haiti, they pastored a church here in the states for many years until my grandmother became ill and was unable to take care of herself.  My parents sacrificed their lives and possessions once again to move back to Rome into the home of my grandmother to take care of her.  They gave my grandmother an opportunity to live out the 9 remaining years of her life in a very loving, caring, and safe environment. 

I have known my parents throughout my lifetime to give every single penny they have to someone in need.  I have known them to give their car away to another person because there was a need.  They have taken people into their homes for an extended period of time who were homeless or who needed one-on-one ministry, sacrificing their time and their personal life. They have done without so others can have what they need.  

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.' "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'  (Matthew 25:35-40 NLT)

Jesus walked this world as an example of how we are to treat and serve others.  He is our ultimate role model.  We are supposed to be Jesus to this world.  Do you sacrifice for the benefit of others?  And if so, is your heart and motive right?  I think it’s time for us to do a service check. What do we get out of serving others?  Nothing here on earth, other than the enjoyment of seeing others blessed.  But oh my, just to hear those certain words from our Lord and Savior will be worth it all.

"The master said, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.”  (Matthew 25:23 NLT)

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