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The Meaning of Sacrifice
Why is it important to sacrifice as the Lord asks without expecting anything in return?
Sacrifice is one way that we prove our faithfulness as disciples of Jesus Christ. Sacrifice is not simply giving up things that we don’t need in our lives, it is giving up things that we want to do or have. I do not consider my choice to not shop on Sunday as a sacrifice, because it is something that I have never had the desire to do, but paying my tithing is a sacrifice. This is not because I struggle with the act of paying tithing, but because my family does not have a lot of money and we just get by as it is. Every time I choose to make the sacrifice of money and pay tithing, I am showing my faithfulness to the Lord.
In Doctrine and Covenants 64:23 we read, “Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.” Giving of tithing is one of the most important sacrifices that we can make today. One of the purposes for this earthly life is for us to prove that we have faith in God and that we are willing to follow His commandments. When we only do what we are asked, because we expect to get something in return, we are not showing our true devotion. We cannot expect a return of our money when we pay tithing, and we should not give with the expectation of something in return, but we can have faith in promised blessings to come for our obedience. The Lord will bless us, because He has promised us blessings, but they will come in His time and in His way.
The Law of Sacrifice Was Practiced Anciently
What was the significance of the sacrifices performed by the Lord’s covenant people anciently?
Before Christ died for all mankind, the performing of sacrifices was a standard way of showing devotion to God. The sacrifices that we accepted, were those of a firstborn lamb without blemish. This symbolized the great sacrifice of God, which would come with the death of His Son, the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Why is the Atonement considered the great and last sacrifice?
The Atonement was the great and last sacrifice because it did away with the requirement to make physical sacrifices of the firstling of the flock. It was the great sacrifice, because it was the most important one and it would cover the need for all those who had ever lived or would ever live, to pay for their own transgressions.
We Still Must Sacrifice
How do we observe the law of sacrifice today?
We follow the law of sacrifice today by keeping out baptismal covenants and all other covenants we make with God. When we are baptized, we commit to the Lord, that we will serve Him. We covenant that we will use our time and energy to do all that we can in helping with the Lord’s work on the earth. We promise to stand as a witness of Jesus Christ and to lead others to Him by our own examples and service. We sacrifice our time, energy and all our means to do the will of the Lord. Moreover, we sacrifice our own pride through repentance for the sins that we have done, and through humility we rededicate ourselves to the Lord.
We Must Be Willing to Sacrifice Everything We Have to the Lord
Why are people willing to make sacrifices?
People who want to be obedient, will make sacrifices. Sacrifices make us stronger. Those who want to improve themselves, will give up things that they hold on to that are not of an uplifting, eternal consequence.
What examples of sacrifice have you observed in the lives of people you know, your ancestors, early members of the Church, or in the scriptures? What have you learned from these examples?
I have ancestors who gave all that they had to move to Utah with the saints. Their sacrifices included money, belongings and hardest of all – their families. I have known converts to the church who have been disowned by family for joining. I have even seen some who sacrificed long-awaited goals in order to serve in callings in the church. They all have been great examples to me. In the scriptures I think of Ester, who was willing to risk her own life, to save her people. I think of Lehi’s family, who gave up all that they had to travel to the promise land. I think most of all, of the sacrifice of the Savior. I think of how difficult it must have been for Heavenly Father to let His Son suffer on His own. I think of the Savior willingly giving up his life so that we all would be able to live again.
Sacrifice Helps Us Prepare to Live in the Presence of God
In Luke 9:62 we read, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” This scripture teaches me, that we are not ready to fully serve the Lord, unless we can sacrifice and not look back or have any regrets for moving on from that thing. If we claim to be ready to serve the Lord, we need to do it with a full heart and intention to serve Him.
Why do you think our willingness to sacrifice is related to our readiness to live in the presence of God?
In Doctrine and Covenants 98 we read, “And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal (v. 13). Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy (v. 14). For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me (v. 15).”
Our sacrifices today, show our worthiness for eternity. When we live with God again, we need to be completely prepared to live His laws and to serve. I believe that this is how we will have the greatest joy we can ever know. I believe that the selfishness of the natural man, is what keeps us tied to our things in this life. We want our own time for us, our own money for us, and so on. When we live with God again, we will realize that our time and all that we have is truly His and we will happily use everything to serve and bless others, if we have the attitude of sacrifice and service in this life.
I am so grateful for the examples of sacrifice in my life. I am also very grateful for the blessings that I have already received for the little bit of sacrifice that I have given. I know that I have a long way to go, in order to truly be worthy. I pray that I will have the faith to sacrifice as the Lord asks it of me.