Summary: This week we will look at a great story of sacrifice, a woman who exhibited a spirit of Real Sacrifice! Once upon a time, a pig and a chicken were walking down a village street. They came upon a church sign which was advertising a prayer breakfast which
Once upon a time, a pig and a chicken were walking down a village street. They came upon a church sign which was advertising a prayer breakfast which was going to be held in a few days. At the bottom of the sign the menu was given. It read “Ham and eggs will be served from 6:30 to 8:00 am.” The chicken turned to the pig and said, "See!!’ Even we can help the work of the church!!!" "Yes," said the pig, "but yours is only a contribution, mine is a SACRIFICE."
Please open your Bibles to Luke 21 and we will read a familiar story about a woman who made a Real Sacrifice, Starting at verse 1....
" And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."
I hope my little story of the chicken and the pig helped us to understand the difference between a contribution and sacrifice. Because today, sacrifice is what we are talking about.
1. Sacrifice has to do with Proportion not Portion
The rich men were casting in their gifts into the treasury. They were giving, they were contributing. Their contributions may have seen large to the disciples and even to the giver, but not to Jesus. Why? Because Jesus didn't see the portion, but the proportion. The rich men walking away, they were still rich! The widow walked away penniless! She gave ALL! I read about a pastor who was working witha mission giving out jackets to the homeless in Atlanta. It was winter and it was even snowing. The group he was with had given away all the jackets and an elderly person showed up as they were getting ready to go home. He said he had heard they were giving away jackets and he really could use one,(he was wearing just a long sleeve shirt). When the pastor heard the mans request other began to apologize and tell him he was too late, there were no more jackets. The pastor removed his new jacket, that he had bought so he would be warm that night and gave it to the elderly homeless man. They had given out jackets that had been given to the ministry for that purpose. For them it was a contribution of their time, for that Pastor it became a sacrifice. When we talk about portions a man giving a ten percent tithe on a thousand dollars certainly gives a greater amount than the man tithing ten percent on one hundred dollars. But, who do you think it was more of a sacrifice for?
2. Sacrifice has to do with Selflessnes, not Selfishness!
I'm sure Jesus knew those mens financial portfolios, but how about others around. In Mark's account he said many that were rich cast in much. I picture them wearing their fine clothes, with their gold and silver going to temple to see the whos who. I'm not saying that the wealthy were evil or bad for coming to the temple, that is where they should have been, but they gave what they had, out of an abundance. They contributed some of what they had, but left knowing they still had enough for them. We think of sharing as sacrifice, but it's not. The idea of sharing implies some for you and me. It is a contibution, It is a nice thing to do, but it is not sacrifice. The widow gave selflessly. The money given here was generally used to help the poor, to feed, clothe and shelter them. She is described as giving of her penury which means in poverty, want or destitute. She was the poor! But she cared more for others than herself. She had two coins, she could have shared, she Sacrificed. I love to watch Abbott & Costello movies, and in a lot of their routines you see the division of money or food or the like and it usually goes something like this. One for you and one for me, two for you and one, two for me... Some for you, but more for me! That is not selflessness, but selfishness.
I wonder what would have happened if certain situations a contribution was made instead of a sacrifice. What if our great military was willing to contribute their time, their talents to defend this country, but were'nt willing to sacrifice their lives for it? I think we would be living in a different country today. What if in the battle heroes merely covered the grenade with their helmet, instead of throwing their bodies on it. Many more would have died. But because men & women who serve our nation are willing too sacrifice we live in a free country today! What if Jesus came and taught, healed and loved, but didn't go to the cross. What if he said I've done enough already. Well, we would still be dead in trespasses and sin. The debt would not have been paid. We would not be free! So, after hearing the difference between contributing and sacrifice, and knowing that Jesus calls us to sacrifice."Take up your cross" Give all that you have and come follow me" The disciples said they had given up everything to follow him. God says "Thou shall have no other Gods" Jesus says the great commandment is to "love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. All is sacrifice! Knowing all this, do you think God desires our contribution or our sacrifice? What are you contributing to God, that you should be sacrificing? Jesus says she gave a greater gift because it was out of lack. Do you give out of abundance or lack? It's easier to give from abundance, but it takes sacrifice to give of what you lack. What do you lack today? Maybe that is what God wants you to sacrifice for Him. Will you vow today to give even out of your lack? Would you be willing to give all that you have to God? It's His anyway... Let's stand and sing number 347 "I Surrender All"