The word sacrifice is not usually a fun word to think about, it isn't even that great of a word to look up in the dictionary. Half of the definitions given to 'sacrifice' have to do with OFFERING something, while the other half have to do with SURRENDERING something. Either way you look at it, the end result of a SACRIFICE will always be a LOSS... and let's be honest... we don't like to lose.
It is said by many that JESUS was the ultimate sacrifice, when he died on the cross for OUR human frailty he sacrificed Himself so that we would WIN the prize of an eternity spent with Him in heaven. This is a fundamental foundation for Christianity. So, maybe it's just me, but as I have been thinking about Easter (as it's coming up fast) I can't help but ask the question, since Jesus sacrificed His life so that I wouldn't have to, why does it seem like EVERYTHING we do as Christians equates to a lifestyle of sacrifice? Think about it... we sacrifice our time to help others, we sacrifice our money to build His church, we sacrifice our lives to causes that are greater than ourselves and we sacrifice our humanity in order to pursue a supernatural way of living. We sacrifice ALL THE TIME! So why then, do WE sacrifice so much if HE already made the BIG one?
In the 80's at the height of his reign in the NBA, Michael Jordan was not only the superstar of basketball or the symbol that landed on the shoes of every baller out on the court, but he was also the king of advertisement. If you put MJ's name on your brand (even if it was cereal!) your product was guaranteed to sell. In the early 90's a company called Bayer Bess Vanderwarker came up with the ultimate slogan for Gatorade in 1991 using three simple words 'BE LIKE MIKE'. This campaign ran forever (it seems) and has been noted by sports fanatics globally who were inspired to try to be just like Michael Jordan. So why did this simple strategy work so well for a company peddling colored water? Because Michael Jordan represented the IMPOSSIBLE becoming POSSIBLE. In his prime he was someone to align your own hopes and dreams and ambitions to and that slogan captured the hearts of a generation of people who wanted to do the impossible.
Now, as much as I like Michael Jordan (and yes, I was once a baller on the court showing off my Air Jordans!) good old MJ is NO Jesus Christ. He can fly, I'll give him that... but last I checked he hasn't yet perfected the slam dunk in the middle of the ocean! JESUS on the other hand... NOTHING BUT NET! Jesus did greater things than this, He healed people, He fed people, He reconfigured the ingredients in water, He brought a man back from the dead, He restored vision to blind people, He called out demons and sent them on suicidal missions, He loved the unlovely, He forgave the most guilty and He did it all while BEING HUMAN. Now that is a pretty significant point in the story of Jesus, because we (as humans ourselves) tend to focus on His deity - on the fact that He is God as well - and so we look at these stories that we read in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and we worship/praise Him for all that He is and all that He set up for us, but we often times forget to focus on the simple fact that He did these things while being a human. So what's the big deal, you ask? The BIG DEAL is this: just like Michael Jordan did some pretty extraordinary feats on the ball court - Jesus did some pretty extraordinary feats on the LIFE court and just as the slogan 'BE LIKE MIKE' inspired a generation of athletes to do the unthinkable, the never before tried and the seemingly impossible; we have an even greater slogan to 'BE LIKE JESUS'.
I for one KNOW that there is a strategic reason that Jesus laid low for the first half of his life, just being human and learning and growing and trusting and working and experiencing what life (as a human) is truly like, you know, the stuff that we have been doing. Did He have struggles? Did He face challenges? Did He ever worry or stress? We can only speculate that He did, since He was human like you and I. But you know the coolest part? When He was ready, He did the impossible. He broke the record books with the things that He could do. And He showed us how to be just like Him. Ooooh! I'm gonna say that again... He showed us how to be just like Him. Did He make the ultimate sacrifice? Absolutely. And if we are going to 'BE LIKE JESUS' a sacrificial life is our equivalent to the young kids jumping in the air and sticking out their tongues in driveways across the globe to be like the man who broke a few barriers of his own. And you know the stories of how MJ put in the time and pain to get where he got, what ever made us think that it would take anything less than the DEATH to our comfort zones, in order to spread the JESUS LIFE to those who are still DEAD to His LOVE? In other words, IF IT TOOK THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE TO SECURE THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD, IT'S GOING TO TAKE THE SAME TYPE OF THING ON OUR PART TO DISTRIBUTE IT!!!!!!!! Whatever that means to you personally JUST DO IT. So what is YOUR sacrifice? That's up to you, EVERY day you've got a choice, choose to sacrifice the things that continue to hold you back and although it may feel like you are losing something, soon and very soon, you WILL realize that you are actually starting to WIN.