Gandalf, great wizard or servant of God? For those of you not aware of this meme, the scene is taken from The Lord of the Rings when a group of the main protagonists are being chased by a demon-of-sorts at a bridge. In order to protect 'The Fellowship' this character, Gandalf the Grey, sacrifices his life by breaking the bridge so that he and the demon cannot pass while the other characters run safe and free. The point I would like to illustrate is that Jesus Christ was like Gandalf. He died on the cross to save us from the demon, which is sin so that we may be saved.
Even the smallest gestures can go a long way. Meeting someone face to face, going down to their level is the most powerful way to affect change. I learned this at church one day as I sat next to an elderly lady whom I noticed could not stand during praise. For a second I wondered how she might feel, how I would feel in her shoes, intimidated by the standing crowd as if they had something more to offer than I did. It was no grand gesture but I decided to sit next to her as others stood, not out of pity but of comfort, to praise God alongside her, to remind her she was part of this church standing or not standing. As her unsteady hands held the bible, I reached out to balance it so she might not be ashamed of her shaking, not to take the bible from her but to hold it together. By the end of it all she said thank you to me and praised me in front of the pastor, who was my friend. I was not quite sure how to take it all, it was no big deal, I was no saint, but to her it was and that is all that matters.
Sacrifice is the greatest sign of love and love is the greatest gift of all.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love"1 Corinthians 13:13
If we then believe that statement, that love is the greatest gift of all, then must we not believe in Jesus Christ who taught us how to sacrifice, to love. It is impossible to claim we have found the chicken without acknowledging the egg from which it hatched. If we practice the art of love, we can trace our learning back to our parents or great people in history but at some point we must trace it back to an origin. The reality of this should be flooring, like the idea of your own father taking a bullet for you, a son who ran away from home and abandoned the family. Jesus is the most logical answer for the origin of love, for he made the ultimate sacrifice as a human being, face to face, at our level.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."John 3:16
If sacrifice is love and love is the greatest gift then who is the giver? Jesus Christ gave his life for us to safe us from sin. Sacrifice does not need to be so dramatic. We can practice it daily by offering our time, money, ears, and energy to those around us in an effort to show love.