Sacrifice or something else?

Before I begin this post, I feel the need the qualify something. I do believe most of us know the true meaning of the word. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice for noble reasons. And for that I am grateful.

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Sometimes I think how I view personal sacrifice is akin to my view of humility–the moment I begin to think of myself as sacrificial, I sort of miss the point.

  • My daughter pleads for the latest “must have” and hard to find toy or trinket. I drive all over town to find what she wants, then surprise her with it when she gets home. Later I find this most wanted item tossed carelessly on the floor of her room.
  • My son has a big school project due. He comes home to find that I’ve pulled the garbage cans in from the curb, brought his dirty clothes from his closet to the laundry room and emptied the dishwasher–all his chores–thereby giving him ample time to finish his assignment. Later I find him playing video games in his room. His school project, which is due the next day, lies unfinished on his bed.
  • I discover a great new blog. I put the writer on my blog roll and retweet all new posts on Twitter. I visit and comment on his or her blog at least two or three times per week, but the blogger never replies to my comments nor does he or she ever visit my blog and leave a comment.
  • After making a withdrawl from the bank, I see a man with a sign at a busy intersection–“Trying to get home. Need bus fare. Anything will help. God bless you.” I roll down my window and ask him how much he needs for bus fare. I give him the amount needed plus a few extra dollars. A week later I see the same man with the same sign in another part of town.

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Any of the above scenarios might be considered sacrificial on my part if I perform these acts expecting nothing in return. When I expect in return obedience, gratitude, respect, loyalty or love, the act ceases to be sacrificial and become some sort of unhealthy, passive-aggressive prid pro quo. Frankly, that’s just not the kind of person I want to be.

I’m examining my heart more and more these days, trying to be more like Jesus and less like my wretched self. And if I want to be more like him, I’ve got to love more like him. How about you?

“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.” ~ Hosea 6:6

This post is part of the One Word at a Time blog carnival: Sacrifice, hosted by my friend Peter Pollock. To read more on the topic, please visit him at


Editor’s Note: For the record, I’m not in the habit of surprising my kids with toys or doing chores for them. I’m just not that nice of a mom. And if you’re on my blog roll, it’s not because I expect you to read my blog in return, it’s because I enjoy reading your blog and think others would, too. So there you go.

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