During the past 40 something days I've learnt a lot about sacrifice. For Lent I fasted from meat and Paul fasted from all solid food totally. Now I thought this was going to be easy since I don't eat too much meat, but I was in for a shock. You are bombarded with food all of the place. Watching television or listening to the radio is a consistent reminder of what you have chosen to abstain from. Now it was certainly easier for me than for Paul since I was eating some food.
During this time I watched my husband sit through 3 dinner celebration with grace and dignity. At no time did he say 'sorry I can't go there because I can't wait' He went to two restaurants and had soup. Now all he 'ate' was the broth, making sure not to eat any of the goodies in the soup. Our last dinner out was at IHOP and he just had a coffee and a milk shake & this was on Easter Saturday. What an amazing example he set for the children & to me. I never once heard him complain about not eating - he did do an amazing job and I'm very proud of him.
Since being on the fast I've had many, many opportunities to focus on sacrifices made. Not only did I look at the sacrifices I've made over the years as a friend, wife, mother and person, but I've been really thinking about the sacrifices made by my loving Lord and Savior. Jesus not only gave up his life for me. He gave up His power to be a human for me. He choose to give up His relationship with His Father, for me. He willing chose to be physically, emotionally and spiritually beaten. He willing shed His blood all for my freedom. Because of all His sacrifices I have been given forgiveness and redemption - what a gift!!!
As Christians we all know about these sacrifices, but what about the sacrifices made by the disciples. Think about what they gave up to follow Jesus and His teachings. Can you image the ridicule they would have faced, whilst Jesus was alive, but what about during the crucifixion and during those 3 days after He was buried. The fear and disappointment must have been unbelievable. No wonder they hide from the world. How many of us do that? Sometimes we find ourselves in the place where the disciples, we come to Christ, we believe in Christ and then suddenly its seems like He is no longer with us. We worry about what others will say because of our stance.
Mary didn't worry about what others would say, just as soon as she could she ran to the tomb to see her Teacher, her Savior. What did she find...nothing! Image her concern, her pain, her confusion. This on top of all the other things she was feeling! Just think how she felt when she realized Jesus had conquered death, just as He said He would. I don't know if there is anything that would have compared to the excitement, the relief, the joy that she and all the other disciples would have felt when they realized He was back.
We all have the opportunity to share in those feelings. If you don't know Jesus & you accept Him as your savior you'll be filled with such excitement & love. If you're a believer, but feel as if He has left you alone, you have the opportunity of feeling such relief when you realize He hasn't left you.
Sacrifices are so important. They open our eyes and our hearts to what is really important. They help us refocus our lives and energy to where it needs to be. Take a moment to sacrifice something small for awhile and when you feel you can't do without, remember what Jesus gave up for you, remember what is important & remember it isn't about you anymore.