What does it mean to have a sacrificial character? How and what can we sacrifice? Today’s countdown is all about sacrificial character and it’s a character quality that changes us, while at the same time affecting those whom we serve.
It isn’t natural to have a character that is sacrificial. We're not born that way and our culture does little to encourage sacrificial living. Everywhere we turn, it seems, we’re encouraged to think of ourselves and make sure that we’re getting all that we think we deserve. Too often, that self-centered attitude keeps us from sacrificing for the good of others.
Although living sacrificially doesn’t come naturally, it should be the hallmark of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. His sacrifice, His willingness to lay down His life for our benefit, is the example we are to emulate. Without His willingness to sacrifice for us, we would have no reason to celebrate Christmas!
Those who are willing to sacrifice their own time, comfort, and possessions for the well-being of others will change the world by their good character.
During the Christmas season, we are given many opportunities to extend good to our fellow men. Although those opportunities are helpful and they meet needs, they don’t often challenge us to truly sacrifice. The joke around our house is this:
“For a sacrifice to be a sacrifice… it has to be a sacrifice!”
In other words, developing a character that is sacrificial entails giving up something that is of worth to us. Sacrifice costs us something personally. When we simply give out of the overflow of what we already possess, although we are practicing generosity, we are not developing a character of sacrificial living.
It’s so easy to teach our children how to live sacrificially. Whether it’s giving up some of their own gifts to share with a needy family, or adopting a child from the local Angel Tree, our children will quickly embrace the concept of giving away something that is rightfully theirs for the benefit of a needy child.
Unfortunately, we too often become the problem.
When our children want to give away something that we perceive as “too expensive” or “too special” we can foolishly squelch their sacrificial giving. As well, when we buy more for them in order to make up for what they gave away, we are negating the important lessons of sacrificial living. Don’t do it!
Talk with your kids today. Decide as a family how you will give sacrificially to others. Then, take concrete steps to make it happen! Your encouragement and your praise of their sacrificial character will mean more to your kids than any toy that money could buy. Long after a new toy would be broken and gone, they will still treasure your words of encouragement!
Tomorrow we’ll combine service and sacrifice as we begin Day #4 of the Countdown to a Character-Filled Christmas!