I 've been meaning to write a little about what I learned about sacrifice when I had to prepare a talk on it about a month ago. I'm so on the ball. So here's the interesting thing: I looked up Sacrifice in the dictionary. I think no one would be too surprised at the definitions. 1. The act of offering the life of a person or animal, or some object, in propitiation of or homage to a deity. 2. The act of giving up, destroying, permitting injury to, or forgoing something valued for the sake of something having a more pressing claim. But then I look at the root words. It comes from the Latin sacrare=sacred + facere= to make. So sacrifice means to make sacred. What we sacrifice for is what we really care about, what we make sacred to us by our attitudes and choices. What we sacrifice for is what we love. Think of your children. Most of us sacrifice more for them than anyone and how much do we love them. One feeds off the other. Conversely sacrificing is how we become pure and come to offer ourselves to God. Then I saw Sacred whose root was also sacrare>sacer=holy one base word of this was sak which means to sanctify, make a compact. Definitions, 1. consecrated to or belonging to a god or deity, holy. 2.Set apart for and dedicated to some person, place, purpose, sentiment, etc.
When I looked up sanctify it also said see Saint. Interesting, which said sanctus, pp of sancire to consecrate. So if we want to truly belong to God, we need to be consecrated and we do this by sacrificing, which is in essence making us, through our acts, sacred.
I think, though we often think the more pressing need is the more immediate need and we are really sacrificing what we want in the long term and what would make us happier for what we want in the short term, momentary comfort.
What should we really be giving up? I read Alma 22:18 where Lamoni's father has just been taught by Aaron and he is giving his first prayer. He says: O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.
Ok, I think that's it. Give up our sins, our faults, our bad habits. That's got to be one of the most difficult things to do. It's also the kind of offering that by it's very nature will draw us closer to God and we will know him better. Just a natural consecuence. Just think of any goal, like say a more united family. Can we give up enough selfishness, impatience, a grudge, whatever? Isn't it really worth it even if it's hard? What would happen if the whole world was willing to give up their shortcomings in the name of peace? Another way to do this is to just start. Don't be perfect, just start working on one thing. Or just jump in and help somewhere. There is never a shortage of needs that you can help meet, and it gets us on the right track. If our hearts aren't really on what's most important, just starting to work toward what is really important, a more lofty goal, even if your heart's not in it can help you want to.
So, if you serve, you sacrifice, if you sacrifice, you love, if you love, you serve, and it keeps going around. This little circle is what helps us consecrate ourselves. Cool, huh? Here's some other references to look up and think about: John 15:13-14, Matthew6:21,24, Joshua 24:15, 2 Samuel 24:24, Alma 34:14, D&C 59:8, 82:3, 64:22-25. Look @ http://scriptures.lds.org the letters are way bigger than in my scriptures. Happy reading!