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 sacrifice oneself for another ~ Extreme Devotion

In the jail at Gheria, Romania, the names of prisoners thought breaking the rules were noted, and each was given twenty-five lashes. There was a special day set aside when the painful punishment was administered. On that day, the officer would pass from cell to cell, gathering those who were to be flogged.

Since the wardens changed shifts continually and the prisoners were many, it was impossible to know all of the inmates by name. A certain Christian inmate would step forward and say, “I am he” each time a guard called in his cell for one to be beaten. He would be brutally whipped again and again in the place of another.

In the end, when this Christian prisoner was near death after one of the sacrificial floggings, the other prisoners tried to comfort him. They told him, “Brother, be happy now. Soon everything will be over. You will be in heaven. There will be no more pain, only joy!”

He turned, looked at them with love and replied, “May God do to me as he wills . . . but if he were to ask me, I would tell him not to take me to paradise. I would prefer to remain in jail. For I know that above are unspeakable delights, but in heaven one thing is missing: to sacrifice oneself for another.”

[i]In a world that values hoarding over sharing, the biblical principle of sacrifice seems like a strange idea. “Get as much as you can as quick as you can” is the name of the game when it comes to worldly ideals. The Bible teaches another means of success. It’s called sacrifice—laying down one’s life for another. It’s not natural. It does not even sound appealing to our lower nature. Once we try, however, it becomes a compelling way of life. God’s Holy Spirit inside of us helps us to put ourselves second behind others. In fact, his Spirit even helps us want to do it. Are you willing to put others’ needs above your own?[/i]

 2009/5/24 9:28

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