A selfless good deed done with the intention of helping others. . . That is a sacrifice.
There are so many examples of sacrifice throughout the Bible. Matthew 26:6-9 tells the story of a woman who poured out a very expensive jar of oil onto the head of Jesus. The oil was so pricey it could take a years wages to purchase. The disciples were appalled at this "waste" as they saw it; however, Jesus praised her sacrifice. He understood her motives.
He also understood, a true sacrifice comes at a price. For the young woman in Matthew 26, she sacrificed a years wages and endured the ridicule of the pharisees. Her sacrifice was performed with the intention of preparing The Son of Man for His burial.
If you read Chapter 26 closely, there is also an example of one giving up something; however, this was clearly for self-interest. The Pharisees and Sadducee of this era thought Jesus to be a menace intent on stirring up the people into a revolt. Under the pretense of sacrifice, Judas betrayed or gave Jesus up for crucifixion. Did he have the interest of the Jewish People in mind? Not at all. He was interested in the thirty pieces of silver awarded to him for his misdeed.
Sacrifice is about giving away something precious, at a cost to the giver, to benefit others. Jesus understood the true meaning of sacrifice. Matthew 26:36-46 depicts a struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. His heart was troubled as He cried out to the Father to "take this Cup; yet not my will but thine be done(Matthew 26:39)." Jesus understood sacrifice. He knew that, in order to free mankind from the bondage of sin and restore their relationship with God, a ransom must be paid. I think He struggled knowing that not only would His death be painful; but it would also, for three days, separate Him from the men and women that He had come to love and adore. Despite knowing this, He chose to give freely. He chose to offer His life for the benefit of a people whom He loves. What really makes this sacrifice so special is knowing He lived His entire life knowing how it would end. He came to this world understanding that He was here to pay a ransom for you and me. . .
He paid the price. He offered Himself as a living sacrifice to pay a debt that we created. It was the ultimate price of love. He surrendered His all, so that we, one
day, could be all with Him.
We have a hard time offering a few dollars each week in the offering plate. Giving assistance to others seems too much of a 'sacrifice' to so many of us. Yet we so often forget our purpose on this Earth is not to fulfill our interest; but that of the Father. Today I challenge you, give away something at a price to benefit someone else...