Thursday, December 8, 2016


Driving down Northwest Highway yesterday, Andrew and I saw a homeless man cloaked in a white bed sheet panhandling. I had packed Andrew an apple and some pretzels as a snack for the way home, so I rolled down my window and asked the gentleman if he would like an apple. His contagious smile and sparkling eyes caught me off guard. He said yes and thank you. I quickly asked his name, told him ours and told him we would be praying for him. As we drove away, Andrew says to me, “But mom, I’m hungry.” This coming from my 3-year-old who never stops eating. He had just eaten breakfast, was eating a snack in the car and would get yet another snack at Bible study... but he was hungry. We talked about sacrifice and how that apple was Mr. Chris’ breakfast and how God has blessed us to be a blessing.

It made me begin to think of our human concept of sacrifice. When we give to charity, we don’t dig too deep to actually feel it. We pat ourselves on the back when we give a few extra dollars to the missionary, above and beyond our tithe. This, to us is sacrifice - to give a little out of our overflowing abundance.

What was Jesus’ view of sacrifice? “Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!” Ephesians 2:6-8

He sacrificed his throne to save you - to save me! And what does he call us to do? “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationship with one another, have the same mindset of Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:3-5

This feels like a gut punch to my soul. I want to value others interests before my own. I want to give when it hurts (money and time!), not only when it’s convenient. When Jesus asks me to give up my apple, I want to do it willingly and not be so focused on my own interests. But all too often I sacrifice just enough to look good or make myself feel better.

I am reminded of Andrew’s favorite Bible story: Feeding the 5,000. His Bible story book points out that the boy didn’t keep part of his lunch for himself, he gave the whole thing. That little boy offered up all he had to Jesus without expecting anything in return. It wasn’t about how much he had, it was about his heart being ready to give it all for Jesus to use. Oh, that I would have that same spirit of giving this Christmas season.