Sacrifice can be meaningful
In times gone by, the central act of worship was the sacrifice of a living thing. The Biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy describe in detail what was to be sacrificed, at what time, in what manner. Surrendering a valuable animal, or a portion of what was grown in the fields was an act of devotion, and also a way to get on God’s good side.
Sacrifice today isn’t the central facet of our worship. We pass offering plates, or put contributions in a collection box, but that’s as close as we get to sacrifice.
Sacrifice can be something more meaningful, like risking what we have for the sake of a greater good. A night security guard for United Bank Switzerland (now UBS), Christoph Meili stumbled upon old ledger books and reported what he had found. The result was a $1.25 billion settlement in U.S. lawsuits to compensate Jewish families defrauded of monies from loved ones murdered in the Holocaust. Meili paid a cost for his involvement. He was misled by his own attorneys and branded as a traitor by many of his compatriots—but he has never regretted his decision, understanding it as part of his call as a Christian.
That was a remarkable sacrifice. It was done for the sake of granting justice to the families of victims of the Holocaust. It is an example of how people who love God are called to put bigger things, like justice, above our own needs and desires. This kind of sacrifice is not only a godly deed, but an act of worship, a display of devotion to the God of Truth in whom we believe.
Photo: Pastor Paul Thompson East St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Byron West St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Hayfield