To be the hands of Christ, sacrifice is always required

Recently, I attended an amazing local event put on by our Chamber of Commerce. It was the Military Appreciation banquet. One of the poignant moments was what they called a missing man presentation. It involved a table set with dishes, one place setting for each of the branches of the military. It symbolized those who were not with us that night; maybe they had been killed in action, were still missing or presumed captured. Not being military, I don’t remember all the details of the symbolism but the overall picture was profound. That visual presentation reminded all of us of the price that has been paid for our freedoms. Freedom is precious and costly. The price for it is high and often paid in blood. The life of a soldier always involves sacrifice and sometimes it is consumed by it.

The Christian faith also gathers around a table that reminds us of sacrifice. Depending on the Christian group, it’s called the Lord’s Supper, Communion or the Eucharist. Each Sunday around the world, millions of Christians eat bread and drink wine as a visual reminder of the price that was paid for our freedom.

Jesus Christ, the only one to be fully God and fully human, offered his perfect life for our sins. The communion table invites us to experience forgiveness for the past, community in the present and because of the resurrection, hope for the future. The love Jesus showed us is sacrificial. He paid the ultimate price — a terrible physical death and enduring the wrath of God for all of our sins.

There is an interesting Scripture passage that gives a partial explanation as to why Jesus was willing to sacrifice himself. While there are clearly many reasons, Hebrews 12:2b says, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” What’s the joy mentioned here? At least part of the answer is that it’s a relationship with us. Jesus loved us so much that the joy of a deep, vibrant relationship with us was worth the ultimate sacrifice. Now that’s love!

As we who are Christians walk in the way of Jesus, we, too, are called to a life of sacrificial love for others. A mother getting up again at 2 a.m. for a crying baby looks like Jesus. The foster parents that take in a child who is not theirs and offers love, structure and stability walks in the way of Jesus. The church volunteer who goes weekly into the jail or halfway house, to offer hope to those who are hard to love, live out the teaching of Jesus. The food bank/pantry volunteer giving up time to make sure people in this community have food reflect Jesus. When Christians act as the hands of Jesus to others they embrace sacrifice.

Simply put, to be the hands of Christ always involves the scars of sacrifice.

2 Comments


Rick Sonnier - December 20th, 2019 at 9:56pm

Beautifully put, Derek. We truly have a treasure trove of examples throughout scripture showing us what a sacrificing servant looks like. And, just looking around our immediate church family we see myriad servant leaders lighting the good path we should follow.



Thanks!

Rick

Derek Dickinson - December 23rd, 2019 at 2:18pm

Yes it is great to have Scriptural and contemporary examples. I am always amazed and honored at the fact that I get to serve with so many amazing people. We miss you guys. Hope things are going well for you in Texas.