When I think of sacrifice and service, my thoughts immediately turn to the life of Jesus. Other than the word love, those two words embody everything Jesus was about during his time here on earth. And since Christians (followers of Christ) are to emulate the life and teachings of Jesus, we would be well served to study how he used these traits during his ministry.
Jesus came, not only to usher in a new kingdom, but to show, by example, what true love really looks like. He sacrificed in many physical ways (his life, wealth, lack of a true home). He also sacrificed in spiritual ways as well (being separated from the Father, taking on our sins). But in these sacrifices lie the reason for it all… He came to serve in a way that we could not serve ourselves. While we are self-seeking, Jesus removed self and loved others. If we are to claim the name Christian, we must do the same. In fact, that is God’s plan for our lives. Ephesians 4:12 says that God blessed us with certain spiritual gifts “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” We are to continue the work Jesus started, not because he’s incapable of doing it himself, but because we were created with that purpose in mind.
So how do we begin to lovingly serve God and those around us? Romans 12:1-2 gives some insight on this matter. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” There are two specific actions in this passage that are of great importance. First we must offer ourselves as living sacrifices. We may not die on a cross but we can give our lives in service to Him. Second, we must transform our minds, our thinking from worldly thinking to eternal thinking. How best do we do that? Don’t wait to be transformed to serve….begin to serve to be transformed. It’s not good enough to study the word of God, we must be doers of it as well. When we act out of obedience to the instructions in the bible, God provides the transformation.
Sacrifice and service. Perfect examples of each have been provided to us by our Savior Jesus Christ. It is now our responsibility to show faith and follow in his footsteps.