Can We Ever Sacrifice?

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
       Jim Elliot
I’m thinking about sacrifice today along with Ann Voscamp and others in her community over on her page.
I am thinking about sacrifice, and this sentence comes to mind.“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” It was written, of course, by a man whose very life was taken as he served others in selfless love.
And I’m thinking about what sacrifice really means.
You see, if I lay down everything for love,
I gain
I give up what has value to me, but in return I gain what has true and lasting value beyond my dreams.
Is it sacrifice for a mother to stay home with her children, give up career and haircuts and new clothes and shiny cars and dinners out, so that she can see new human beings grow and become faithful followers of Christ?
Is it sacrifice to stay in a marriage that is difficult, give up the storybook ideals and fairy tale expectations and wait for joy through gritted teeth, if the result is learning how to love more perfectly?
Is it sacrifice to risk judgment by opening my heart and baring my soul if by so doing I find a community with shared need and shared blessing?
Everything we can possibly give up is less than we owe, and for every single thing we give up in this physical realm He blesses us in the spiritual, here and now and also eternally.
As a follower of Christ,
is it possible to sacrifice?
I don’t have an answer. I’m still working on this. I know He sacrificed for us, because He gave up heaven and perfect communion to suffer at our hands and endure a tortured death that He did not have to die. In so doing, though, He gained a body for Himself, an eternal communion with the faithful who would accept the gift of His life.
So what is sacrifice?
I guess
it’s giving up what comes easily
or doing something we don’t have to do
and acting that way
for others.
* * *
I need to rest here a while. I’d love to hear your insights on this. Please comment or send me a note at
Be blessed.


  1. I think that it is still sacrifice, but even more so, it is faith.

    When you are considering giving up something that is known for something that is unknown, you are living out the “bird in the hand” proverb and, by faith, trusting that the giving up will yield a greater reward. Only in hindsight, when you have already seen the blessing that exceeds what was exchanged, can you say, upon reflection, that it was not a sacrifice after all. Nonetheless, at the time of consideration, it was every bit a sacrifice and you felt every bit of it.

    Rewards aren’t really rewards if they are guaranteed in advance. Nor are they as sweet. Likewise, it isn’t sacrifice if there is no choice. If you have to go down the road because there was and is no choice, it’s tough, but it’s not sacrifice. If your little boy cuts his foot and you have to take him to the hospital to have it stitched up and the process is horrible for both of you, that’s still not a sacrifice. You had no choice. You had to do it. It was tough, but not a sacrifice.

    Sacrifice comes when a choice has to be made that will cause you to exchange something you have for something (or nothing) unknown in exchange. You just know that making that choice will benefit the group or individual and in your mind and heart, their well-being is more important at that moment than your own.

    So, yes, I think it is very possible to sacrifice. It happens all the time.

    • I guess I still want to make a distinction between perceived sacrifice and actual sacrifice. I’m sure we think we’re sacrificing when we lay aside our personal convenience for the greater good, but is that indeed sacrifice? Specifically, if we say we believe God and He says we must give up something to follow Him, mustn’t we also say that it is no sacrifice to do so? If we believe, then the reward is not uncertain. It is guaranteed.

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