I read that John Hart was driven from the bedside of his wife who was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves. When he returned home, his wife had died and his children gone. A few weeks later he died of exhaustion and a broken heart.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.
This is just a sampling of the hardships and sacrifices these men made in the name of liberty. The freedoms we enjoy and often take for granted were bought with a high price. It is fitting that we observe a day each year to celebrate our freedom and remember those who won it for us and the multitudes since who have fought and sacrificed to keep it. Many who paid with the loss of their life.
Being a Christian calls for an even greater sacrifice. Listen to the words of Jesus. “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25 NIV) “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:25 NIV) "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mat 10:37 NIV)
These passages and many others make it clear that serving the Lord, being a child of God, demands total sacrifice and total commitment. There is nothing we possess that we should value more than anything we possess. Jesus must be our greatest treasure, more important than any other person in our life. While we are not likely to be asked to become martyrs, we need to believe that even our life, as precious as it is, must be sacrificed if necessary rather than lose eternal life and the blessings that accompany it.
So what does that mean? It doesn’t mean that we spend all day long in prayer and the reading of Scripture. It does mean that we treasure God’s Word. We must read it regularly, study it, let it guide us in our life. We will no longer do as we please but live to please him. Setting aside time for worship, prayer, sharing the Savior with others, serving those in need, showing love to our spouse, helping our children to know and love Jesus as their Savior – get the idea? Total commitment. Total Sacrifice.
It may mean giving up the extra pay from overtime work to spend it with our family. It may be saying no to the kids when their activities conflict with Sunday morning worship. Living for the Lord may cost us a promotion at work, popularity at school, loss of fame or fortune.
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:25 NIV)