Pampered. Soft. Coddled. Spoiled. What other adjectives would you say that most of us are because of the many privileges and conveniences we have to enjoy in America? Wherever you go in the world, you will find that things that we consider to be absolutely essential aren’t! For most of the planet, the women are not looking for additional moisturizers and creams for their skin. The latest design from Paris has little appeal to a woman living in a hut with a dirt floor and no shoes. Having the newest gizmo on the automobile does not seem to be on the minds of the farmer still farming with an ox and traveling to the nearest outpost on the back of a burro.
Perhaps that is why we feel that if we miss out on any of our conveniences for any length of time we have truly sacrificed. When the power goes out for a couple of hours during a summer thunderstorm, we tell our friends how very hot we were in our recliner in the family room without the AC. When one of the family goes to pick up something at the food store, we complain that there were three people in front of us. Consider the person that must pick food from trees and bushes in the jungle and many times bring water from a muddy river in a jar carried for some distance on her head.
And, it has become standard to commend an American congregation for sacrificial gifts made to a mission’s cause, building fund, or camp for children. Sacrifice means that the donor did without something of high necessity so that the monetary contribution could be given as a fitting “sacrifice” to the Lord and to His Kingdom’s work. What is the last thing that we truly sacrificed for Kingdom Advancement?
When David Livingstone began his trek across Africa in 1852, he carried 73 books which together weighed 180 pounds. After he had gone 300 miles he had to throw away some of the books because it was not feasible to carry so much through the jungle. He continued throwing books away as he went further into the jungle. Eventually his library had shrunk to one book—the Bible—this most important book, he did not throw away.
Livingstone was a Scottish missionary and explorer who spent thirty-three years in the heart of Africa. His spirit reflected Jesus through every struggle he faced. He endured much suffering as he labored to spread the Gospel and open the continent to missionaries. This godly missionary once remarked:
“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege.
Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink, but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us.
I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which HE made who left his Father’s throne on high to give himself for us.” (Copied).