When we use the word “sacrifice” in the context of loving other people, I think our minds often generate thoughts of giving up the bigger stuff of life – sacrificing a week of vacation, giving up an amount of money that makes the budget tight, or exhausting yourself physically to lend a hand. Scripture speaks of Jesus’ death on the cross as a sacrifice, so I think our minds more naturally think big. Certainly, because Jesus’ sacrifice provides our example for life, living for him should include these bigger sacrifices. In fact, because Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23), our lives should include these sacrifices and even greater ones… even death if it comes to that.
But I believe Jesus’ call is to make sacrifices for him that are both big and small. A sacrifice doesn’t always mean giving up a pound of flesh for the good of another. Actually, much of the time it will look like simply inconveniencing yourself for someone else – making a little extra food for dinner and taking it to the single mom across the street, agreeing to fill in teaching Sunday school for the family going out of town, or even just parking at the back of the parking at church so others don’t have to walk as far. In following after Christ as his disciples, sacrifice does mean we should be ready to die for Christ, but it also means opening a door for someone… and every other sacrifice in between.