Getting to know missionaries is a great way to get to know about sacrifice. These beautiful people may get spoiled for a week at our church, but when they get to or return to their various fields the real sacrifice begins....and even though it's honorable and right for us to take good care of them while they are with us in our conference this week, somehow, I wonder if it is even more important for us to be in continual remembrance and prayer and support of them when they are actually in the thick of the sacrifice.
I was talking with one of our missions moms and tears filled her eyes as she talked of her children growing up so far from family. The joys of that close grandparent relationship that most families enjoy won't come easy for them. That's a sacrifice. Another friend of mine who is a missionary rejoices every time she can find a jar of peanut butter at her local grocers. Even though that seems almost comical, how many of us would be willing to forgo the little conveniences and favorite things that make life enjoyable? It's a sacrifice. Another missionary told me that they were completely rejected by their families when they surrendered to the mission field, but couldn't ignore the pull on their hearts to share the gospel in a third would country. That's sacrifice.
I was reminded recently of the small sacrifices I could make to help fulfill the camp needs of young people in Peru. For less than $20 a child could experience a week of fun filled camp and be exposed to the gospel numerous times. $20 hardly seems like a sacrifice for me. And yet...the eternal difference that could make in the life of a child because of the ultimate sacrifice....priceless. But....what if God asked for something more from me?
What about on a daily basis? Do I mock God when He requires or desires a sacrifice. I'm probably most protective of my time. But what if God interrupts my day and asks me to vary MY schedule so that it accommodates HIS? What do I do? What if God pricks my heart to let go of some afternoon quiet time to do something for someone else? What do I do? I wonder, what if God asked me to be willing to sacrifice some of my vacation money or tax refund to further HIS kingdom....what do I do?
See, just because I'm not a foreign missionary doesn't mean that God won't ask or require a sacrifice from me. For some reason this sacrifice issue seems so uncomfortable....yet, experience has taught me that there really is no better position to be in than at a place of emptiness. Who knew sacrifice could be the thing that fills you up with such joy.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
- Jim Elliot