Love & Sacrifice

13 02 2009

Esther’s story is definitely one of love & sacrifice and what a perfect time to focus on LOVE as we come to celebrate Valentine’s Day. So the question today is, what is love?

 

 “Love is patient and is kind; love does not envy;

love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

does not behave rudely, does not seek its own,

is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.”

– I Corinthians 13: 4-8

 

The main take away that relates to Esther is that love is something that transcends self but wants what is best for the one you love. It is an act of selflessness.  It is the mother who goes without so her children can have what they need.  It is the friend who forgoes a promotion so that her friend will not have to stand in the unemployment line.  It is the sister that although she has a VERY important business meeting in the morning, stays up all night to help nurse you through a cold.  To take this a step further, to LOVE someone is not about you, it is about the other person.   So where does sacrifice come in?  To sacrifice is to give up something you really want, for the benefit of someone else.  Now it is not truly sacrifice if you are pouting about it or upset. It is sacrifice when you are happy to do it without needing to be acknowledged for it.  This indeed is what we see in Esther’s story. When Esther hears what Haman has planed for her people, she says…

 

“I will go into the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish” – Esther 4:16b

 

Now this part of this story tells us a lot about this woman.  It tells us that she knows this moment in time is not about her, but is an opportunity to look beyond self and do something that will benefit her people.  Esther does not make a public announcement about it, she goes into her chamber prays and comes out and throws a dinner party for the king! Esther is thinking exclusively about the good of her people, she is not focused on the fact that she may die doing this.  She is looking beyond self, to do what is right.  Yes, she indeed may have been put in this place “for such a time as this.”

 

So as we all celebrate love, we must first take an introspective look and LOVE ourselves in order to give LOVE freely to someone else. In order to create an environment of love in a marriage, a home, a life of family and friends, whatever this may mean for you in this moment.  It is relishing in how love & sacrifice go hand in hand.  Sacrifice itself is an act born out of love that is done not because we see other people doing it or because you are going to get something out of it. It is done simply because you love the person so much that you want to see what is best for them to happen in their lives.

 

LOVE is not about keeping a list of all the things you have done for someone and reminding them of it, nor is it keeping a list of all the ways someone has done you wrong. After all making these lists do not come from a place of love, instead it keeps a cloud of negativity looming and if it has gotten to the point that you have to remind people what you have done for them or what they have done to you, the question is, why is this person in your life?   Love is accepting people for who they are while expecting them to be the best for themselves. LOVE delights in what is good and let’s go of the all too familiar phrase, what about me?

 

Now, what about you?  How can we enhance our ability to love while learning how to give of ourselves for the benefit of others? Here are a few quotes to ponder as we think of this, this week;

  

“Only when we give joyfully, without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means.”

      Leo Buscaglia

  

“Love is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day.”

– Nicholas Sparks

 

 “For anything worth having one must pay the price;

and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice— no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service.”

– John Burroughs

  

“When people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.
  

“Love is friendship set on fire.”

 – unknown

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