The beauty of sacrifice
Published 4:18 pm Thursday, August 18, 2022
I came across a story that I wanted to share. A well-known beauty product company asked the people in a large city to send pictures along with brief letters about the most beautiful women they knew. Within a few weeks thousands of letters were delivered to the company. One letter in particular caught the attention of the company president. The letter was written by a young boy who was obviously from a broken home, living in a run-down neighborhood. With spelling corrections, an excerpt from his letter read: “A beautiful woman lives down the street from me. I visit her every day. She makes me feel like the most important kid in the world. We play checkers and she listens to my problems. She understands me, and when I leave she yells out the door that she’s proud of me.” The boy ended his letter saying, “This picture shows you that she is the most beautiful woman. I hope I have a wife as pretty as her.” Intrigued by the letter, the company president took out of the envelope a picture of the woman the boy had described — a smiling, toothless woman, well-advanced in years, sitting in a wheelchair. Sparse gray hair was pulled back in a bun, and wrinkles formed deep furrows on her face.
The little boy saw the beauty of sacrifice. The older lady took time out of her day to listen and play checkers with him. To him she was the most beautiful woman in the world. The word sacrifice appears 213 times in the Bible, and it is the foundation for Christianity. God sacrificed His only Son for our sins and the old rugged cross became a symbol of beauty. The cross of Jesus was a rough and ugly instrument of torture and death. It had no beauty in itself. Why is the cross so attractive to us? It is a symbol of forgiveness, love, and life. It bring us joy and peace when we see it. It is because of the special meaning that Jesus gave it by His sacrificial death. We are told to present our bodies a living sacrifice unto the Lord. The Bible says in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” When we sacrifice our wants and desires and follow God, we take on the beauty and holiness of the Lord.
It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” “The half of my wealth,” was his reply. “And if I release your children?” “Everything I possess.” “And if I release your wife?” “Your Majesty, I will give myself.” Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you — the one who was willing to give himself for me.” There is a profound beauty in someone willing to lay their life down for another. Are we willing to sacrifice our time, effort, and energy for those around us? We are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. We all make sure our own needs are met, however we are commanded by the Lord to meet the needs of others before our own. Let’s make our community a better and more beautiful place by putting God first, others next, and ourselves last.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)