“May Thy Will Be Done”: Sacrifice

May Thy Will Be Done: Sacrifice

Some say sacrifice is giving or doing one good, better or best thing instead of another. Others say if you love what you are doing it is not a sacrifice. What does that mean?

President Russell M. Nelson invited members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to do more temple work with this message on January 1, 2019. “I invite you to prayerfully consider what kind of sacrifice you can make…to do more family history and temple work this year.”

How can genealogy and visiting the temple be a sacrifice if we love doing it? Does the message refer to those people who must take time from work and travel long distances, or save money to pay for transportation?  There must be other ways to look at sacrifice.

A sacrifice definition from lds.org states: “To sacrifice is to give up something valuable or precious, often with the intent of accomplishing a greater purpose or goal. Sacrifice has always been a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a reminder of the great atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all who have lived or will live on earth. Before the ministry of Christ, animal sacrifices were offered for this purpose”.

Lds.org Manual, chapter 26, contributes this to the discussion: Sacrifice means giving to the Lord whatever He requires of our time, our earthly possessions, and our energies to further His work. The Lord commanded, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” Matthew 6:33).  (“Chapter 26: Sacrifice,” Gospel Principles (2011), 149–54).

Sacrifice is an ancient practice and principle. During Old Testament days, people were commanded when to make specific types of sacrifice. Individuals gave their most precious animals from their flocks for the sacrifice. This was to symbolize God’s gift of his first son to humanity.  The practice of sacrifice today continues to measure members devotion to their Heavenly Father. Today people are to give a broken heart and contrite spirit.  “Ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood, …and your burnt offerings shall be done away. … And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Nephi 9:19–20).

A “broken heart and a contrite spirit” means an offering of deep sorrow for sins as we humble ourselves and repent. This is an interesting gift, as it is the most tender part of ourselves, our desire to sin no more, to become clean and pure enough to enter the Lord’s presence.  We offer all that we are-heart, might, mind, and strength to our Father.  We are living sacrifices for the Lord. Our mission is not to die after a pure life, but to live a pure life to serve the Lord. So our offering is the best we can give, just as the Savior’s gift was. (Romans 12:1). His gifts of repentance, life after death, the resurrection and the atonement cannot be copied. Only He had the power to give these gifts. Our gifts are small in comparison to his but require that we give our “all” to the Lord.

Study the story of a young man who felt he had given everything to the Lord and found there was yet something else a member of the church could give.(1Nephi 13:37Luke 18:18–23). How does this story pertain to your life?  Have you asked the Lord, what else you can give“?

The disciples immediately left their families and livelihood to follow Christ. Why? Have you told the Lord, “thy will be done”? We can do this daily. We are living sacrifices. We can give the best of ourselves and follow inspiration to do what the Father needs today. IF WE LOVE HIM ENOUGH.

Other stories of sacrifice include:

  • Abraham and his only son (Genesis 22:1-14),
  • Cain and Able show what happens when a person does not give his best and rejects the Father’s request for exact obedience.
  • Mary and the conception of Jesus
  • Moses going back to the palace to set the Israelites free and then shepherd them for 40 tumultuous years.
  • Nephi and his family put their lives on the line in order to bring the Plates of Brass with them. They suffered privation, suffering and fears of being caught in order to serve God and build a new civilization.
  • Esther put her life on the line in order to save her people.
  • Joseph Smith and many early saints suffered great persecution, hunger, cold, heat, sickness, and all their belongings to build up the kingdom of Zion.

Who else do you know who has made a large sacrifice and what did they give? What are you willing to give? How much are you willing to give?  Tithing, mission, testimony pleasant expressions, service, friendship, time, offerings, example, kindness, refusing to contend, etc.?

What can your family do this week?  Some families do not agree on ways to sacrifice. If that is your situation, make plans to give your personal best.

This is a daily challenge. Testimonies grow over time, just as the willingness to give your all can increase. Read the scriptures. Discern the types of sacrifice available, study your life and see how you can grow daily.

Scriptures provide additional sacrifice principles. The following were found on Lds.org. You will enjoy more during your daily scripture study this year. Does your journal contain reports of personal sacrifice? Make a goal to give and report in your journal so that the next generation can follow in your footsteps.