Before India gained independence, a few young men from the villages wanted to free India from the foreign yoke; they wanted the British to quit India. They needed material wealth to throw the British out of India, so they started collecting money in the Indian villages.
One day, they got inspired to collect material things as well. They went from door to door carrying a huge bag, which gradually was filled with money and gifts. As they went, a one-legged beggar kept following them. The young men did not mind.
At the end of the day, they entered into a house to see what they had collected. The beggar also wanted to enter, but since he was not a member of the group, they did not allow him in. The beggar pleaded with them: “I walked such a long distance right behind you. You want freedom; I also want freedom. Our Motherland is not only your property. It is also my property.”
At first, the young men got mad and told the beggar to go away. Then one of the men felt sorry for him, so they decided to show him the things they had collected. While the beggar was looking at the gifts in their bag, most of them were showing him real contempt. Then suddenly the beggar opened up the bag that he had been carrying. It contained a few coins and some rice. He spontaneously threw all the contents into their bag.
Immediately all the members of the revolutionary group started shedding tears of gratitude, because he had given all that he had to their cause. On that day, they had gone to visit so many rich families, who had given them next to nothing; but this beggar had given them everything that he had! They were deeply moved by the beggar’s contribution. (http://www.writespirit.net/stories-tales/stories-by-sri-chinmoy/tales-of-sacrifice/the-beggar-gives-his-all/).
A very inspiring story of sacrifice. There is a similar story in the bible in Mark 12:41-44. I have come to the conclusion, that before someone can be moved to sacrifice he or she must first be in love with what he is sacrificing for and have utmost belief or faith in the course he is sacrificing for. Sacrifice is usually the last step of our show of faith or the last step in our show of love. Sacrifice is a characteristic of love and faith. There is almost a sequence of love, faith, and sacrifice in every sacrificial story. Let us have a look at Abraham, he was a friend of God who is well known for his faith and love for God. Faith and love go together, for example, you cannot have faith or belief in someone or something you do not care about. Jack wouldn’t have died for Rose in Titanic if he didn’t care about her. The son of man wouldn’t have been a man or even have died for men if He didn’t care for men. For anyone to make the ultimate sacrifice he or she must have faith in the course he or she is dying for and must truly be in love with that course. In other words, sacrifice is effortless love in your belief. The bible tells us in Romans 5:8; But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Back to Abraham, Abraham had no child till he was a hundred years old, God finally gave him a child and he was asked to sacrifice him. This was a test of Abraham’s faith in his love for God of which he obliged willingly, of course, it was just a test, but if God didn’t stop him he would have killed the son in which he waited 25 years for. Abraham definitely cared about his son, but he believed in God so much that he could effortlessly give the only son to God as a sacrifice. Based on the above stories and other scriptures I have been able to come up with four key things you should know about sacrifice.
- Sacrifice is usually a tussle between which of the options you love better, but faith always plays a key decision on which option you end up taking. Am sure while you were reading the story of Abraham above, you asked; did Abraham not love his son? Yes, he did love his son, but he loved God more, he had faith in God that He was the one who gave me this son, He can do it again and again. The homeless Indian man was probably hungry and needed something to eat, or at least he could save up some money over time and buy himself a tent, he could have saved up money to buy himself a better blanket for winter, but he believed in the course of the other men. He believed that through his donations, India could become an independent nation.
- The sacrifice that is faith dependent usually yields the option foregone. For example, the two options before Abraham was to either sacrifice his son or not to sacrifice his son. He chose the step of faith and true that step of faith he has more sons. He was willing to kill his only son and in that process gained more, if he kept his only son then he would have lost so much more. The same goes to for the Indian man, he was faced with two choices to either get a blanket or food or sacrifice for an Independent India, he chose the part of sacrificing for the sake of India and probably he died on the street. What then is the difference between these two men? They both believed in what they were sacrificing for; the difference is that one was sacrificing to God’s course and one was sacrificing to the course of men, one acted according to God’s instruction and the other acted according to what he felt right. Therefore, “sacrifice that is faith dependent usually yields the option foregone” only works when God is involved in your decision making. In other words, God must be involved in your step of faith. If God has not instructed you, don’t go say that, oh! Abraham tried to kill his son and got many more sons, I need more sons so let me tire my son to the table and wait for God to provide a lamb. You will probably wait until the end of the world. Also, think about the fact that, God sacrificed his only son (John 3:16) and gained other sons (1 John 3:1)3.
- The expectation in Sacrifice: 99percent of the time in sacrifices there is usually an expectation. The Indian beggar played his role by sacrificing but the Indian government after gaining independence failed to get beggars off the street, there are still hungry people in India and so on. Therefore, whereas this man had sacrificed all that he had expecting that the future of his country and for him will be better, his sacrifice was in vain. People might argue at this juncture and say that in a true sacrifice that there are no expectations, but I believe that is false. Jesus the sacrifice for our sin, expects that we are not to practice sin (1 John 3:9-10). Expects that when we are faced between good and bad we choose to do good, because we have faith that whatever good thing we might have missed out doing bad is gained doing good. What do I mean? There are always good reasons to do bad things, for example, I need to pay my debts and I go steal some money. The bad thing is you stole the money but the good thing is you paid your debts. With God, you will be able to pay your debts and also have surplus, if you tarry and continually look unto him.
- No one believes in what he has never heard; no one loves what he has never known: Remember Hebrews 11:1, faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. The only sense organ that faith doesn’t apply to is the ear. What do I mean? If for example your friend tells you to try a new restaurant that their chicken wings are awesome, you are yet to see the chicken wings, but you already believe they are awesome. You always must have heard of something before you believe. Therefore, the belief process starts from hearing. If you never heard of God you will not have faith in Him. I have never heard of a situation when someone said I have seen Jesus and because you have seen me you too have seen Jesus or I touched Jesus and because I touched Jesus, if you touch me then you have touched Jesus. The Testimony of the bible was a hearing testimony and not a seeing or touching testimony. Therefore, to activate our faith or increase our faith we must be willing to hear and hear the word of God (Romans 10:17). When we keep hearing the word of God then we can start experiencing the touch of the word (Jesus), we can start seeing the word play in our daily lives and so on. Hearing of the word of God activates the rest of our senses, which boost our faith, but the reason you are even willing to hear is because you know and love God.Hearing activates knowing, which could simultaneously activate both faith and love. You must, therefore, fall in love with the word of God to experience high-level faith that will make you willing to sacrifice all and anything for the purpose of the word.
In conclusion, before writing this post, I thought when you love you are not meant to care if the person gives back, you just give your love “naturally”. However, I have come to understand that love is like a cycle, when viewed by outsiders it seems like you are putting a lot of effort on all sides to make sure that the cycle keeps going. Within the cycle, you are working but it seems really easy, it seems like you are not even doing anything, there is a drive to want to do more, and after doing more you are like it is not enough. However, without true love, the effort becomes a burden, but with true love keeping the cycle going is effortless. The ultimate sacrifice usually is what initiates the cycle, and then true loves keeps the cycle going. Sometimes, you have to forego something (sacrifice), but true love will always see you choosing the part of keeping the cycle going rather than anything else because you have faith and belief that with God on your side, your cycle will go on forever.