WHEN WE THINK of the word «sacrifice,» nothing nice or pleasant comes to our minds. We think immediately of loss, pain, self-denial, or deprivation of something. However, this is not necessarily so. The word «sacrifice» comes from the Latin Sacro, which means «sacred,» and facere, which means «to do.» In other words, sacrificing is doing something sacred, honoring it. This is the true meaning of the concept, and it is in this sense that it makes sense—forgive the repetition,
If you look for the word «sacrifice» in Webster’s Dictionary, you will find two entries that I want to highlight in this reflection today: «an offering, as of a life or object, to a deity / a giving up of one thing for the sake of another.» Summed up in my words: it is paying homage to God for His great love through our own self-denial. There is a passage in the Bible that sums up very well the true spirit of sacrifice that is expected of us today; it is Ephesians 5:2: «Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.»
If we notice in the Old Testament, sacrifices were offerings (animal or vegetable) that were presented to the Lord as a sign of worship, gratitude, or dedication, as well as for the forgiveness of sin. They all pointed to Christ, the Lamb of God who really takes away the sin of the world and who sacrificed Himself for us.
In Hebrews 13:15, 16, we read: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.» Our «sacrifice of praise» means honoring Him with our praise based on a heart filled with gratitude—gratitude for what He sacrificed for us, which is so great that it leads us to sacrifice ourselves for others in order to do good and help all those who need it.
The sacrifice that is within our reach is passing on to others the blessing that God has given us, putting others in first place just as Jesus put us first, and making it clear to the world that the driving force for what we do is pleasing Christ. That is praising Him. That is the type of sacrifice that pleases Him.