According to tradition, John the Evangelist was the only disciple that was not martyred. He died on the island of Patmos, in exile. Perhaps the Lord spared him to write the book of Revelation. He encountered a pretty big angel, with one foot on land and the other on the sea. That sight alone was enough to motivation him to do what he was asked. He was told to take the scroll and eat it. It would taste like honey in his mouth but turn sour in his stomach.
God’s word becomes non-sweet when it instructs us to do or say something we would rather not. That is not to say we do not believe it. It just makes us very uncomfortable to think about it, let alone do it! Being a Christian takes work and sacrifice! We have to decide if it’s worth it. At times it becomes so difficult that it seems like it’s not. Jesus went to the cross to save us. If you forgot how He suffered, watch The Passion of the Christ again or for the first time. It is very graphic! Some would say we cannot truly understand what love is until we can enter deeply into what Jesus Christ has done for us. I tend to agree.
Think for a moment of someone you know who lived great sacrifice in their life. The first one I noticed was on my paper route when I was a tween. If their inside door was open when I came to collect for the week, I would sometimes hear a loud moan. I never knew what was going on until a few years later. I knew who the husband was but had never seen his wife. It was her. She had had a severe stroke in her twenties, shortly after they were married. He never left her or put her in a home the whole time I knew them. That man was like a hero to me.
I think the word sacrifice is all but gone from our culture. After WWII our country was one of community and family. I grew up in Ludington where there was an atmosphere of people helping people. Looking back, it was a wonderful place to grow up. For you younger people, imagine this: After WWII, two of my dad’s brothers got married in the same wedding and then both moved into a one bedroom apartment together! They would rotate the use of the bedroom. The lack of financial resources after WWII forced them to be creative and sacrificial.
I invite you all in this coming season of Advent to ask the Lord what kind of sacrifice you can make for someone you love or someone you don’t love. If something doesn’t come to mind, ask the Lord. You may be surprised!
Serve With Joy!
Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the parents of eight children and twenty-nine grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002. He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.
Featured Image Credit: Francesco Alberti, https://unsplash.com/photos/BLUxpzQgdhM