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Seeing Only You! (10.14.05--Sacrifice!--Leviticus 1:2)

Think about it; a world free from the chains of pain and suffering--a place where accomplishment reigned and failure rarely reared its ugly head. Since sacrifice requires so much effort and consumes so much valuable time, wouldn’t we be far better off as individuals and as a nation if things just got done without the tedium of pain or the inconvenience of time wasted?

When I think back on those things that I have accomplished in this life, the things that I can point to with satisfaction, I am often struck with this thought. As good as these were, how much better might they have been had I not been limited by the amount I had to spend, the time I was able to give or the physical limitations of this body? I am reminded of this every time I look around at the finished walls of the addition I built for my wife and family more than a decade ago. The errors and miscalculations are apparent now. If only I had had more time, more talent, more resources. Yet, things are as they are. The accomplishments mixed with the sacrifice is what we are often left with.

It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” “The half of my wealth,” was his reply. “And if I release your children?” “Everything I possess.” “And if I release your wife?” “Your Majesty, I will give myself.” Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you--the one who was willing to give himself for me.” (Unknown)

The perfection we seek in this life will never be ours because we lost that perfection, that holiness, when Adam fell into sin. Now all labor is mingled with sacrifice. This would be a hopeless and unfulfilling lot if all we had to focus on was our inability to get things done right and with perfection. That’s why God gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice. Our small sacrifices, the ones that get in the way of fulfillment and completion, are nothing more than reflections of that one perfect sacrifice on Calvary millennia ago. Our pain and imperfection point us to Him. When we see His sacrifice our inabilities give us hope that someday we will find that perfection so long lost. When our eyes can see Him and only Him there is no need to take notice of our failures and shortcomings. Because He was the perfect sacrifice, our small sacrifices become the blessings in which are reflected His perfection. It’s hard to keep your eyes from such beauty.

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