“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Ephesians 5:2
This verse invites us into a living a life filled with love but in a very specific way. The way given is to follow Jesus’ example of sacrificial love. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines sacrifice as ‘the surrender of something for the sake of something else.’ That’s exactly what Jesus did for us – His surrender was for our sake! This invitation is so specific that we must choose it or we will miss it altogether. Sacrificial love isn’t an easy love; it is love that costs us something!
I remember an invitation into sacrificial love in my life when I was 13 years old. My parents divorced which meant a number of changes for my life. As one of the oldest in the family and because my Mom would need to work she asked me to care for my younger brothers ages 4, 7 and 10 each day after school, to keep the house clean, do the laundry, make dinner and also to take over earning money for my clothing, etc. since the family budget was now going to be so tight. I raced home after school to care for my brothers and get everything done and then babysat during the evenings to make money for what I needed. For that season of my life, I was faced with the choice of giving willingly or begrudging my lot in life. I remember some tough moments but I began to realize that the challenge I faced was an opportunity for me to choose to give to my family or remain selfish. The process taught me that mature love gives and doesn’t complain about the sacrifice involved.