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Sacrifice Speaks

Most of us enjoy the comfort of our beds. Rarely do we willingly give them up unless we are assured another spot with equal or greater comfort. And the older I get, the more this is true!  However, God’s love has shined brightest, when folks have given up their own bed for me. God’s love is a strange thing. Most of all it is forever and without condition. But it is communicated most effectively through sacrifice, or the giving up of something precious.

It was definitely the middle of the night, and I must have been 7 or 8 years old, too young to take care of myself.  I remember waking up, feeling miserable, and looking over the side of my bed. There she was, my Mom, asleep on the hardwood floor. I must have been pretty sick, because this was NOT a normal thing. There was something real and tangible about love that night. It was so nice knowing that if I needed her, all I had to do was say her name. I’m guessing she didn’t get much sleep. But in that moment, I knew how much she loved me.

It was very similar to what happened in Honduras on a college spring-break mission trip. Our group arrived, all 25 of us, but only two folks had their luggage. That meant no tools, no clothes… and no air mattresses. Without even thinking, the people of the town brought us the mattresses off their own beds. What a tremendous way to welcome a complete stranger to your town!  Most of our team broke into tears (but I guess it could have been the exhausting two-day trip.) We were the ones who expected to make the sacrifice, giving up our time, our energy, our vacation. The people of Flowers Bay put their only two coins in the offering plate and changed our lives forever.

In John 15, Jesus told his disciples that he commanded us to love one another just as I have loved us; the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. I doubt that many of us will have an opportunity to show such sacrificial love, as to die for another. But there are certainly ways we can give up our lives on a daily basis: cooking meals for the homeless; giving time to go and serve; reaching out to a neighbor in need. Ultimately, God’s love will shine brightest when you and I give up something meaningful… maybe even something as near and dear as our own bed.