Choir Notes

Sacred Gifts of Sacrifice
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4333

When we hear the word sacrifice, we usually think of a person giving up something of great value. Perhaps we picture an elderly man giving up his personal activities to care for his wife in her final years or a mother waking up in the middle of the night, sacrificing her well-deserved rest to comfort a crying child. It could even be a co-worker sacrificing a lunch hour to volunteer in the community.
But if our definition of sacrifice focuses mainly on what we give up, then we’re missing the essence of sacrifice. The complete definition is to forfeit one thing for something of greater value. And it’s the "greater value” part that we often forget. The man who cares for his ailing wife may have less time for golf or television, but he is growing more deeply in love, earning his wife’s eternal gratitude, and enlarging his own soul. The gifts he receives far outweigh what he gives up.
The mother who soothes her crying child may be missing some sleep, but she is carving a legacy of devotion and forging a bond with her child that she will cherish for years to come. Her choice yields a gain, not a loss—for who can put a price on the successful upbringing of one’s children?
Whenever we assist others or donate our time to a worthy cause, we know we are investing our time to make the world better. When we devote our time to higher purposes, we always come out ahead. It’s often a matter of understanding what truly matters. Giving up a recreational pursuit to spend time with our children, taking time to listen to a heartbroken neighbor—such sacrifice is always a bargain. It turns selfishness inside out and brings immeasurable joy.
The word sacrifice comes from Latin roots that mean "to make holy or sacred.”1 Thus, when we devote our time and energy to greater causes and higher purposes, our efforts truly become sacred gifts.
1 See Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. [2003], "sacrifice.”

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