Sacrifice. What does sacrifice really mean? I began to think of the concept of sacrifice in my life going way back. I guess when I was young I was involved in forced sacrifice when my mother wouldn’t let me eat candy before supper. I had a sweet tooth (let me be clear, I still do) and would love to eat any candy that was in front of me, but was forced to refrain before a meal. I don’t know if forced sacrificing is really the definition of sacrifice.
I guess the first choice I had in my life to sacrifice that I remember was when I was in high school and played sports. My choice to play sports had the consequence of sacrificing time with my friends to be out on the field running and sweating and preparing for the next game or event. You see this with upper echelon athletes who are preparing for the olympics who choose to sacrifice friendships for a higher goal of competition.
When we fall in love with a person we choose to spend the rest of our lives with, a natural sacrifice comes when we sacrifice time with our friends we once spent time with to spend time with the new relationship. Many of us have heard from our friends saying to us that we no longer spend time with them and feel the resentment from them for our choices.
All of us have experienced sacrifice in our journey, but what if we had the option to choose to sacrifice something or someone greater in life. What would we do? What would I do? This is much harder as I began to read the following passage where Abraham had a conversation with the Lord about sacrifice.
““Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”. . .When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”” Genesis 22:2, 9-12 NLT
This is a very hard passage for me because it speaks to things in my live that are very important and to sacrifice them as Abraham was asked to do is difficult. Ultimately God wants us to put Him before all others. It is a journey of moving from things and people to placing Him first in our lives. It took many years for Abraham to get to the place of being willing to sacrifice his only son.
On this journey God is in the process of revealing things that need to be sacrificed so that we can see him more clearly. It may be something that has blocked our view of Him. It may be a relationship that we need to emotionally remove so that our vision can be clearer. It only takes a heart that is open to His direction.