Sometimes, it takes all we have to do the right thing for others

Published 5:19 am Sunday, January 16, 2022

In a Japanese seashore village over a hundred years ago, an earthquake startled the villagers one autumn evening.
But, being accustomed to earthquakes, they soon went back to their activities.
Above the village on a high plain, an old farmer was watching from his house.
He looked at the sea, and the water appeared dark and acted strangely, moving against the wind, running away from the land.
The old man knew what it meant. His one thought was to warn the people in the village.
He called to his grandson, “Bring me a torch! Make haste!”
In the fields behind him lay his great crop of rice. Piled in stacks ready for the market, it was worth a fortune.
The old man hurried out with his torch. In a moment, the dry stalks were blazing.
Then the big bell pealed from the temple below: “Fire!”
Back from the beach, away from the strange sea, up the steep side of the cliff, came the people of the village.
They were trying to save the crops of their rich neighbor.
“He’s mad!” they said.
As they reached the plain, the old man shouted back at the top of his voice, “Look!”
At the edge of the horizon, they saw a long, lean, dim line ¬– a line that thickened as they gazed.
That line was the sea, rising like a high wall and coming swiftly.
Then came a shock, heavier than thunder. The great swell struck the shore with a weight that sent a shudder through the hills and tore their homes to match sticks.
It drew back, roaring. Then it struck again, and again, and yet again. Once more it struck and ebbed; then it returned to its place.
On the plain, no word was spoken.
Then the voice of the old man was heard, saying gently, “That is why I set fire to the rice.”
He stood among them almost as poor as the poorest, for his wealth was gone, but he had saved four hundred lives by his sacrifice.
We don’t hear a lot about sacrifice anymore.
Perhaps it is because we are so blessed in this country that we cannot think about ever giving up our material wealth.
However, anything worth having is worth sacrificing for.
Have we so soon forgotten that our forefathers sacrificed their well-being to sail across the ocean to this new land?
Have we forgotten that the freedom we enjoy in America came from the sacrifices of our veterans?
Have we forgotten about the supreme sacrifice that Jesus made so that we could have eternal life?
The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that through his poverty you might be rich.”
Jesus sacrificed His own life so that the world could be saved from sin.
He turned His back on the riches of heaven and came to earth to be born in a lowly manger.He came to us and made a way for us to come to Him.
The rice farmer was not afraid to lose his riches if it meant saving a village full of people from a tidal wave.
Likewise, Jesus was not afraid to lose his life if it meant saving a world full of people from sin and destruction.
You see, ‘sacrifice’ isn’t a dirty word – it’s another word for commitment.
And after all that Jesus has sacrificed for you—will you be committed to Him?

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

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