We’ve just listened to one part of John’s gospel that talks about sacrificial living. I would like us to think about our own life experiences of meeting needs in ways that were costly. Let’s think of a time when we put aside our own agenda, our own choices, maybe even our own material comfort in order to provide a necessity that someone else needed.
We may have given up time with our family or maybe we sacrificed a good night’s sleep so that we could sit with a friend, or we might have given up buying the latest electronic gizmo so we could help a friend with their rent or a car payment. Or maybe we gave up going to the bakery for a month and used the money we’d have spent there to provide meals for those who are homeless. What was that experience like? What was our emotional state? What were our expectations when we gave up our time or money or sleep? Did we expect any payback?
Now, what would our world look like if more people lived sacrificially? Do you think our political parties would be bickering so much about who was at fault for the latest economic problems. What would our community look like? What would the Council Bluffs/Omaha area look like? What would our churches look like?
In John’s gospel Jesus says that he would make himself a sacrifice for his sheep. In his epistle he says again Jesus laid down his life for us to show us what love is really like.
John certainly doesn’t cut anyone one bit of slack in his epistle (letter) when he says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Our actions show what we believe. If we believe in God’s truth then we will live lives of love caring for our fellow human beings. Right?
So, what kind of sacrifices are we willing to make? What are we willing to give up so we can help someone else? And what would our world look like if more people lived like that?
Is it possible that we could influence change in the world by beginning right here in Walnut? I believe we could.
My challenge to all of you gathered here this morning is this. Give up or sacrifice something to make a difference in someone’s life this week. And don’t take anything in return for the favor or help. Just ask them to pass it on as they are able.
Let’s try it and see what happens. May God bless those who step outside their comfort zones and try it. Thanks be to God. Amen.