Our Example in Christ: Giving Sacrificially

 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesuswho, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

(Philippians 2:5-8)

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When my son was in middle school, he was big enough to be a helper shoveling snow. Of course, being a kid, playing in the snow was what he would rather do. Yet, there were several days that he chose to go shovel–by himself. . .

My son and I started shoveling together at a friend’s home when the fatigue she experienced from cancer became overwhelming. It was a good opportunity to teach empathy, compassion and giving with no expectation of getting something in return, except the knowledge that we were doing this out of caring for someone else.

My friend was soon placed in a care facility as her cancer rapidly progressed. No one was at the house. A big snow came, and my son asked to go outside and shovel. However, I soon discovered it wasn’t our drive he was shoveling. He had gone to her house and was doing the whole drive by himself. He said it didn’t matter if she was there or not. My son wanted to keep it open for her—for when she came home. He continued to do this for several more snows.

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“Heroes”

We read and hear about the heroes who give their lives—veterans of war and conflict, first responders in a tragic occurrence, teachers and citizens who stand up and protect others while sacrificing self. We may wonder if we could have been them at that time, in that circumstance, in that place.

We may not read and hear about the silent heroes who give sacrificially daily as caregivers, as mothers of young children, as fathers working two jobs, as behind-the-scenes volunteers who cuddle and calm the opioid-addicted babies, as hospice volunteers who sit by the bedsides of the dying with no family, holding their hands to the last breath.

But we can read about the One who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus bore our sins, though sinless; He suffered humiliation and torture, though innocent; He forgave those who crucified Him, though they were guilty; He died that we might live eternally, though we never deserved such mercy and grace.

Our society desperately needs those who would strive to be Christ-like and have more empathy, more compassion, more giving of self. We each need to be that “hero” who would give so completely and empty self for others.

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself

 and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

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The little boy shoveling the snow all alone for someone who never saw it, doing it out of selfless caring and love– just a kid who would rather play in the snow but chose to give the gift of himself in a labor of love– was that “hero” in that time, in that circumstance, in that place.

I had to tell him she wasn’t coming home, and he could put down the shovel, that she knew he was doing it for her and she was grateful for his sacrifice. The instrument: A shovel. The life lesson: Denial of self for another.

And the Teacher continues to instruct us always in the lessons of selfless giving,

maybe through the heart of a child.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/11/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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