Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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True Sacrifice

It is estimated that Americans will have spent more than 20.7 billion dollars on their loved ones for Valentine's Day this year.  A gift is a sacrifice that manifests one's love and commitment to another.  Sacrifice is defined by some sources as something lost or given up especially to help another.  Therefore, these relatively small individual sacrifices for our loved ones soon add up to a huge sacrifice when you look at the nation as a whole.  But what is true sacrifice?


          The sacrifice of the widow's two mites gives us a greater perspective of what true sacrifice is.  Love is manifested in true sacrifice, whether it is in gifts or actions.  She truly gave from the heart and sacrificed.  Mark recorded in 12: 41-44 (NKJV)  Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.  Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.  So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;  for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”


          Unlike the small physical gifts of Valentine's Day that require the total of a whole nation to add up to substantial size, Christ's sacrifice for us is much larger on each and every individual's account.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).  The magnitude of that sacrifice to each individual, multiplied by all men who have ever lived and will live, shows us that God's love and Christ's sacrifice is larger than we can comprehend.  It is another example of God's love which cannot even be realized by human minds because of our human limitations.


          We are taught in John 15:13 that there is no greater love or sacrifice than one who gives his life for friends.  John writes: Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  We are also given perspective in Romans 5:6-8  For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


- Marc Hopkins