“Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased because the sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.” Ephesians 5:1,2
Sacrifice. If someone were to offer me a penny for my thoughts, I would say that my mind is currently preoccupied with that word. My husband and I are preparing to send our oldest off to college in a few short months. We have been looking at the financial aid package he has been offered. He has received some fine scholarships and grants. However, we all know that college is an investment, and he will still owe a considerable amount to the institution he has decided to attend. As parents, we want to provide him with what help we can so he isn’t overwhelmed with the burden of debt after he earns his degree. We have been talking a lot about sacrifice. What can we give up? What expenses can we decrease or eliminate from our budget? How much of our paychecks can we afford to send to the college?
As parents, we quickly learn about sacrifice. We begin the parenting journey learning how to survive without a solid good night’s sleep. As families grow, we sacrifice cute little sporty cars for mini-vans. We sacrifice decorator show-room living rooms as they get taken over by toys and other childish clutter. We sacrifice privacy in the bathroom when the personal needs of small children must be dealt with immediately. Personal time disappears as we become occupied with driving to team sports, activities, lessons, and play dates. We sacrifice our sanity when trying to reason with toddlers and adolescents and also when helping with certain homework assignments. You get the idea. We sacrifice…endlessly.
The word sacrifice implies something that is difficult to do. It is giving up something for a higher purpose – maybe a cause or a person we consider to be of higher value than that which we relinquish. Sacrifice typically isn’t pleasant, but it is an act that stems from love and honor. In the context of parenthood, we sacrifice on a daily basis. We may not always do so perfectly without grumbling and complaint. It’s not easy to act selflessly, but we put our children’s needs before our own because it is for their benefit.
Parenting gives us a wonderful illustration of our relationship with our Creator. Our Heavenly Father sacrificed his son for the benefit of his dear children. Out of love for the Father, Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice –his life for our redemption. We, as children of God, are filled with loving gratitude. We learn from and try to follow the example of Christ. This means we give of ourselves, sacrificing for our children.
Dear Father, help us to care for our children, not indulging them, but giving them what they need. Please provide us with the resources to do so, and help us to give joyfully of what we have been given. Thank you for giving us the richest of blessings through the sacrifice of your son.