If you dig deep through countless millennia of religious scripture and teachings, you will find one theme popping up again and again: Sacrifice.
The word Sacrifice stems from the Latin words “sacer,” which means “holy,” and facere, which means “to make.” Together they form an expression that can be interpreted as holy creation.
Now, I consider myself to be a spiritual person. However, this will not be a spiritual post. Because you do not need to be spiritual to recognize the Divine power of Sacrifice.
In a world where we emphasize the importance of receiving, earning, and accumulating, we often neglect the power of giving.
The Bible promises eternal glory and salvation through Sacrifice. Now, often when we think of Sacrifice, we imagine taking a bullet for another person, or we picture Jesus giving his life on a cross, wounded and suffering.
But what if our interpretations of Sacrifice are wrong, or what if they are deeper than we are led to believe?
What if Sacrifice doesn’t mean giving your actual life for another? What if it means offering your livelihood to another?
So much of our lives is devoted to the pursuit of health, wealth, happiness, and abundance. Yet how often do we make these offerings to other people?
We expect that everyone is responsible for his or her own wealth and happiness. Only when we have earned enough to satisfy ourselves, can we consider giving to other people.
First comes financial success and security, and then comes charity. First comes satiation and fullness, and then comes food drive donations.
Many of us are willing to give others, but only when our own needs are met. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of Sacrifice?
The Oxford dictionary defines Sacrifice as, “the act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.”
If you are only willing to give up the things that you have in excess, are you truly giving up something of value?
If you are only willing to pick up your buddy’s bar tab when you believe he will return the favor, are you even giving something up?
“Through selfless service, you will always be fruitful and find the fulfillment of your desires: this is the promise of the Creator.” – The Bhagavad Gita
You would think that if you didn’t latch on to your own success, your own wealth, your own happiness, you’d lose it.
It is exactly the opposite.
When you prioritize gaining and receiving, you are focusing your energy inward, but you are expecting the outward world to give you what you seek.
This path is burdened.
When you emphasize giving, you are focusing your energy outward without expecting the world to give you anything in return.
This path is simple.
You are free from the burden of inner dialogue and expectation.
Questions like, “Did I earn enough yet?” “Am I successful?” “Why does she have more than me?” “Why am I not satisfied?” “How do I get more?” can dissolve within the ease and magnitude of selflessness.
It’s much easier to give than to get.
Laozi, an ancient Chinese philosopher and the author of the Tao De Ching, notes that he has just three things to teach, “Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
Have the simplicity to choose the unburdened path of selflessness. Have the compassion to offer your value to others. Have the patience to forgo immediate expectations and wait for the fruits of your actions.
Sooner or later, giving will bring you more abundance than receiving ever could.
You might not believe me, but give it a try…
Maybe you drive a friend to the airport without expecting them to return the favor.
Maybe you give someone your seat on the subway, or let someone into your lane on your drive home from work.
Maybe take the time to listen to someone’s problems without making it about you providing them with “the perfect solution.”
Maybe you share this post (or my website) with friend you care about 😎.
Whatever you decide, be sure to do something out of pure charity today.
Religion after religion, scripture after scripture, teaching after teaching, promise that you will feel better for it.