Illustration results for Sacrificial Love
"YOU'RE NOT FROM AROUND HERE."
There is not much you can do about it. Once you have been around it everybody else knows. I’m talking about the red dirt of western Oklahoma. It’s caused by the iron in the soil that, after being oxidized, turns to rust.
It seems that nothing can erase or clean the stain from that red dirt on your shoes once you have walked there. If you have new shoes – everyone knows -- because they are not red ... yet. If you are from the city (OKC or Tulsa, for example) and you make your way into the western ranchlands everyone can tell "you’re not from these parts" simply by looking at the color of your shoes.
The inverse is also true; if you go to the city and are wearing shoes that you have previously worn out "out there" everyone knows where you are from.
It’s not a judgmental thing. The cities in Oklahoma are intimately connected to the ranches and open lands; no one thinks they are better or inferior; it is simply a recognizable and distinct line of demarcation. There is simply no getting around it.
Godly love (Agapé) is like that too. It is such a contrast from the world’s love that it becomes immediately recognizable and "different." The world looks at the sacrificial, serving, grace-filled love of God and says "You’re not from around these parts." It cannot be duplicated, at least not for long, it can be "faked" for a little while (vv. 1-3) but even the masquerade is evidence that it isn't Godly love.
When it has been poured into your hearts it cannot be hidden; that’s the nature of God’s love. It's just there and influences the lives of those it touches.
Bryan Chapell tells this story that happened in his hometown: Two brothers were playing on the sandbanks by the river. One ran after another up a large mound of sand. Unfortunately, the mound was not solid, and their weight caused them to sink in quickly.
When the boys did not return home for dinner, the family and neighbors organized a search. They found the younger brother unconscious, with his head and shoulders sticking out above the sand. When they cleared the sand to his waist, he awakened. The searchers asked, "Where is your brother?"
The child replied, "I’m standing on his shoulders"
With the sacrifice of his own life, the older brother lifted the younger to safety. The tangible and sacrificial love of the older brother literally served as a foundation for the younger brother’s life.
Hebrews 2:10-12 and 14-16 describes Jesus Christ’s willingness to be like the older brother to us: "In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy [Jesus] and those who are made holy [Christians] are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers....
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he (Jesus) might destroy him (Satan) who holds the power of death and [that Jesus might] free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.... For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people."
Total Sacrifice Bryan Chapell tells this story that happened in his hometown: Two brothers were playing on the sandbanks by the river. One ran after another up a large mound of sand. Unfortunately, the mound was not solid, and their weight caused them to sink in quickly. When the boys did not return home for dinner, the family and neighbors organized a search. They found the younger brother unconscious, with his head and shoulders sticking out above the sand. When they cleared the sand to his waist, he awakened. The searchers asked, "Where is your brother?" The child replied, "I’m standing on his shoulders" With the sacrifice of his own life, the older brother lifted the younger to safety. The tangible and sacrificial love of the older brother literally served as a foundation for the younger brother’s life.
OUR COMFORT, OUR HOPE-- COMMUNION MEDITATION
Recently I came across a true story that happened during the Holocaust of the Second World War.
Solomon Rosenberg, his wife and their 2 sons were arrested, together with Rosenburg's mother and father for the crime of being Jews. They were placed in a Nazi concentration camp.
It was a labour camp, and the rules were simple.
"As long as you can do your work, you are permitted to live. When you become too weak to do your work, then you will be exterminated."
Rosenberg watched as his mother and father were marched off to their deaths. He knew that the next would be his youngest son, David - because David had always been a frail child.
Every evening, Rosenberg came back into the barracks after each day of hard labour and searched for the faces of his family. When he found them they would huddle together, embrace one another and thank God for another day of life.
One day Rosenberg came back and didn’t see those familiar faces.
He finally discovered his oldest son, Joshua, in a corner, huddled, weeping and praying. He said, "Josh, tell me it’s not true."
Joshua turned and said, "It is true, Dad. Today David was not strong enough to do his work. So they came for him."
"But where is your mother?" asked Mr. Rosenberg.
"Oh Dad," he said, "When they came for David, he was afraid and he cried. So Mum said, 'There is nothing to be afraid of, David,' and she took his hand and went with him."
That illustrates a mother’s love-- a love so strong that it chooses to give up life so her child can be comforted.
This is also a picture of the sacrificial love Jes...
LOVE IS ACTION
In his book, Dad, The Family Coach, Dave Simmons tells of an act of sacrificial love that occurred in a shopping mall. One day he took his eight year old Helen and five year old Brandon to the Cloverdale Mall. He needed to buy some tools in Sears.
When they pulled into the mall parking lot, there was a big sign that said, "Petting Zoo." Immediately the kids jumped up and asked, "Can we go, Daddy? Can we go? Please." Seeing that it would be not trouble at all, and concluding that it might even make his trip quicker, Dave said, "Sure," and handed both his kids a quarter. They bolted away as he headed for Sears.
A few minutes later he was making his way down the aisle when he spotted Helen slowly walking up behind him. She looked up at him and said, "Well, Daddy, it cost fifty cents. So, I gave Brandon my quarter." then she said the most beautiful thing of all. She repeated their family motto, "Love is action!"
What do you think he did? Not what you might think. Dave finished his shopping and then took Helen back to the petting zoo. They stood by the fence watching Brandon go crazy petting and feeding the animals. Helen stood with her hands and her chin resting on the fence just watching. Dave felt fifty cents in his pocket, almost burning a hole, but he never offered it, and she never asked for it. Helen was following through with the lesson.
Love is not just action. Love is sacrificial action. Love always pays a price. Love always costs something. Love is expensive. When you love, benefits accrue to another’s account. Love is for you, not for me. Love gives; it doesn’t grab.
A newspaper columnist named George Crane told once of a woman who was full of hatred toward her husband. Someone counseled the woman to act as if she really loved her husband, to tell him how much he meant to her, to praise him for every decent trait, to be kind, considerate, and generous whenever possible. Then, when she’d fully convinced him of her undying love, she’d make her move and file for divorce. With revenge in her eyes she said, "That’s perfect, I’ll do it." And so she did...but guess what happened...the more she demonstrated sacrificial love toward her husband, the more she began to actually love him, and at the end of a few months divorce was the furthest thing from her mind.
In history, 160 years before the birth of Jesus, there is the story of the Maccabean revolt in Israel. Antiochus IV, King of Syria, had conquered Jerusalem, & he decided to destroy the Jewish religion & make the Jews deny their faith in God. Among the many things he did was to order the people to sacrifice pigs upon their altars built for the worship of God. Of course this was an abomination to the Jews.
History records the story of one Jewish mother with 7 sons. The soldiers came first to the oldest son & ordered him to offer a pig upon the altar. The son refused. So they cut out his tongue. Still he refused, so they scalped him. Since he still refused, they cut off his hands & feet & threw his mangled body into a pit of fire where it was consumed.
They went to the second son & ordered him to offer a pig upon the altar. When he refused, they fried him alive in a giant skillet. The third, the fourth, the fifth, & the sixth all refused & all died after a variety of horrible tortures.
Finally they came to the baby of the family, just a boy. Even the most hardened of the soldiers didn’t want to see him die. So they went to the mother & said, “If you’ll just ask him to place the pork to his lips, that will be enough, & we’ll spare his life.”
History records that the mother took her son, her youngest, & said to him, “Son, I carried you in my womb for 9 months. I nursed you for 3 years. I raised you for a moment like this. I encourage you to stand strong in your faith & follow in the steps of your brothers. And when you die, I will die to be with you.”
THAT ANOTHER MIGHT LIVE- COMMUNION MEDITATION
About 6:00 A.M. on a Wednesday morning James Lawson of Running Springs, California (in the San Bernardino mountains) left home to apply for a job. About an hour later his thirty-six-year-old wife, Patsy left for her fifth grade teaching job down the mountain in Riverside, accompanied by her two children, five-year-old Susan and two-year-old Gerald, to be dropped off at the babysitter’s.
Unfortunately, they never got that far. Eight and a half hours later the man found his wife and daughter dead in their wrecked car, upside down in a cold mountain stream. His two-year-old son was just barely alive in the forty-eight degree water.
But in that death the character of a mother was revealed in a most dramatic and heart-rending way. For when the father scrambled down the cliff to what he was sure were the cries of his dying wife, he found her locked in death, holding her little boy’s head just above water in the submerged car. For eight and a half hours Patsy Lawson had held her beloved toddler afloat and had finally died, her body almost frozen in death in that position of self-giving love, holding her baby up to breathe. She died that another might live. That’s the essence of a mother’s love.
And that is the essence of Jesus'love for us. He died so that we might live. "Fo...
Guys, Let me give you an example of selfless and sacrificial love in today’s terms. Are you ready? Give your wife the remote control…
Now ladies: Do not undervalue that action… It is a significant sacrifice for a guy! Several years ago my wife and vacationed in a time-share condo in Florida with my folks and hers. Susan was with us then. She adopted one room with the television it it. There were two other TV’s in the condo.
Now do the math... Two TV’s and three men. It was not a pretty site. There always seemed to be one man kind of wandering around not knowing what to do...
Now, that’s humorous – but it’s meant be a bit more.
The problem is that most of us fellows are into control. We want to be in charge. We want control. Love is not about being in control. Love is about giving up contorl. Guys, give your wife the remote control of your life…
The Lord gave me this message this past Tuesday, while at a home school choir concert.
· I have to admit, the style of music that they sing is not what I normally listen to.
· Also, since Sis. Noel takes the kids to their weekly rehearsals, I didn’t know anyone there.
· And to top it off, there are only 4 Black homeschoolers in the choir and three of them had my last name.
So, needless to say, I felt kinda out of place, to say the least.
For whatever reason, I sat in the back of the church, even though there were other seats closer to the front. I regret this decision, with all of my heart.
· No, it’s not because I couldn’t see! (I could see)
· No, it’s not because I couldn’t hear! (I could hear0
· No, it’s not because the air was too cold or the heat too hot! (I was comfortable)
The reason I regret sitting on the back row is because of what I saw… because of what I heard…because of want I felt! You see, in front of me were 4 young people, who obvious didn’t go to the concert to see the concert.
· They didn’t go to hear the songs of Christmas!
· They didn’t go to sing the praises to our Messiah!
These young people went to see each other, and hear each other. One young man walked into the service… LATE… wearing cowboy boots…. with spurs. Every step he took gave forth that jangle of metal-against-metal, and like “Hee Haw”… “Here I is”
His friend was a portly fellow, about as wide as he was tall. His size didn’t bother me, but is mouth did. All throughout the concert, he had to make the little cowboy laugh. And his jokes and jesting were not subtle, but rather … in your face!
Next to him, sat the ‘weak and silent’ type. This aberration of manliness didn’t talk… too often. And, rarely did anything to draw attention to himself…other than wear his oversized ball hat… in the house of God.
Lastly, we have the blond-haired, blue eye beauty. Although I never saw her eyes, I did see her hair. She apparently was the testosterone magnet, compelling the young men around her to win her heart through their childishness.
As I sat there, I kicked myself for sitting in the back.
· It’s my fault. I chose to sit there!
· I could have sat closer to the front, and avoided the rudeness, toward God, God’s house and the God’s choir.
· I had no one to blame but …me!
I told God, right then, that I hope and pray that when He calls me home, that I’ll be in church somewhere. But, I told Him that I also hope and pray that He won’t find me in the back of any church!
· The back of the church is where people go who aren’t interested in what’s going on up front.
· The back of the church is where people go so they can do something other than focus on what’s going on up front.
· The back of the church is where people go so they can be as far away as possible from what’s going on up front.
Lord Jesus, please don’t find me in the back of nobody’s church!
And then, out of nowhere, wherever that may be, the Lord gave me this message.
You see, as the 4 Amigos, struck a negative nerve with me, the Lord asked me a question, “Is this concert worth the fuss?”
· The children had been practicing for months!
· Hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars had been invested in gowns, and tuxedos… lighting and sound….props and preparation.
· Parents had invested hours upon hours, making sure their children were at the Sunday…AND…Tuesday rehearsals!
But, was it worth the fuss?
· After all, the style of music isn’t exactly what I listen to!
· After all, I don’t know anyone there, except my family!
· After all, we are one of only two Black families in the building!
It might be easy to say, ‘No, it’s not worth the fuss,… that is until you heard the music.
Although the genre, the style, of music was different, …the focal point was familiar to me. The children, the pianist, the harpist, the flutist, the violinist the soloist, the ensembles, the congregation….ALL OF THEM…. Sang and play about … JESUS!
And they didn’t just sing words, the sang love!
· They sang about the marvel and wonder of the birth of Christ!
· They sang about the majesty and splendor of the person of Christ!
· They sang about the sheer greatness of the sacrificial love of Christ!
But, let me ask you a question: “Is Jesus worth the fuss of Christmas?”