My parents were a part of what journalist Tom Brokaw calls “The Greatest Generation.” My dad fought with the army in South Pacific, was wounded, came home, married, and did his best to provide for a brood of five, a girl and four boys. My mom was the typical late twentieth century mother. She loved us, read us stories, stretched a dollar twenty ways and hid the leftover change in the cookie jar. When Dad died, and even before, Mom went to work to provide for the family. Their generation was the greatest because they knew the true meaning of words like love, sacrifice, and honor.
My brothers and sister and I never suffered. My brothers had bikes and skateboards. I had a trike that I peddled down the street after my sister and her boyfriend. I don’t remember my parents spoiling themselves, though. The never purchased anything on credit. They never owned a new car or fancy clothes. A photo of my parents sitting in my grandmother’s travel trailer shows Dad looking very uncomfortable. He would never own such a trailer or a nice enough car to pull it with.
We children never went without anything we really needed. Because of the sacrifice of my mom and dad, I didn’t realize until I was grown that I had grown up poor.
The Apostle Paul calls us in Romans 12:1 to be a living sacrifice to God. A traditional animal sacrifice in the first century consisted of the very finest. It was an animal without flaw, perfect, and pleasing to God. Jesus, God made flesh, presented His perfect life as a permanent and perfect sacrifice for all mankind. This being the case, then, why is it that Paul call us to present ourselves sacrificially.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
– Romans 12:1
Here, he speaks of our daily walk with Christ. Just as my parents sacrificed so much because of their love for me and my siblings, Paul tells us that our love of God should compel us to sacrifice our own selfish desires and seek the finer things that God offers us.
We should surrender ourselves daily to God. After all, God sacrificed His only begotten Son for you and me.