Today I was sitting in a class helping a 7th grad history teacher plan an ESL appropriate two week long lesson on citizenship so that we can learn how to adapt. While sitting there he started talking about WHY the pioneers were so important and what we could learn for them and he said something along the lines of, 'They were so committed to what they believed in that they were willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING.'
Now normally, this comment wouldn't have struck me that hard, but because I have been pondering sacrifice for the last few days, it really hit me. I have never been uncommitted to anything that I have done. For a long time I have felt like there have been things that I have done in my life that have been fruitless, things that I have done because I FELT like they were right and yet nothing became of them. And as I sat there in this random meeting today, I realized that they weren't fruitless, it wasn't that nothing became of them. I was willing to sacrifice. I sacrificed and so someday, the blessings will come.
Sacrifice allows us to learn something about ourselves—what we are willing to offer to the Lord through our obedience.
This is from a talk by M. Russell Ballard
Brother Truman G. Madsen tells about a visit he made to Israel with President Hugh B. Brown an Apostle of the Lord who served as Second Counselor and then First Counselor in the First Presidency. In a valley known as Hebron, where tradition has it that the tomb of Father Abraham is located, Brother Madsen asked President Brown, “What are the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?” After a short moment of thought, President Brown answered, “Posterity.”
Brother Madsen writes: “I almost burst out, ‘Why, then, was Abraham commanded to go to Mount Moriah and offer his only hope of posterity?’
“It was clear that [President Brown], nearly ninety, had thought and prayed and wept over that question before. He finally said, ‘Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham’ ”.
Sometimes we are required to sacrifice because it shows us what we really hold dear. Abraham needed to know that he loved the Lord more than anything else, even his own son whom he had waited for for YEARS. Likewise as we learn to sacrifice, what we are willing to sacrifice for teaches us what we really value in this life.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “Whenever the Lord revealed Himself to men in ancient days, and commanded them to offer sacrifice to Him, … it was done that they might look forward in faith to the time of His coming, and rely upon the power of that atonement for a remission of their sins” .
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) once explained to a young man struggling with his testimony that effort and struggle are necessary if we are to be saved through Jesus Christ. He told my friend, “Through sacrifice and service one comes to know the Lord.” As we sacrifice our selfish desires, serve our God and others, we become more like Him.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught:
“We are still commanded to sacrifice, but not by shedding blood of animals. Our highest sense of sacrifice is achieved as we make ourselves more sacred or holy.
“This we do by our obedience to the commandments of God. Thus, the laws of obedience and sacrifice are indelibly intertwined. … As we comply with these and other commandments, something wonderful happens to us. … We become more sacred and holy—[more] like our Lord!” (“Lessons from Eve,” Ensign, November 1987, 88).
In fact, the word sacrifice means literally “to make sacred,” or “to render sacred.”
I recognize that this might be something very random to blog about, but I feel like I understand this principle so differently now than I did four days ago. We always sing 'Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven' but I have never really seen how they correlated. It brings forth blessings because the Lord can TRULY see when we are committed to him. It is the action behind our faith. It is us saying, 'I know that this is something that I want very much, but I know that it is not what you want for me. I will let it go because I trust you and know that you would not ask me to do things that were not for my own good. I will let this go because you have promised something better.'
I am grateful for the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father and for the ways that he chooses to teach us things. This las little part is from a talk by Monte J. Brough.
Can we escape sacrifice? Not if we would be exalted. The Prophet Joseph Smith helped us understand this significant requirement when he said, “All the saints of whom we have account, in all the revelations of God which are extant, obtained the knowledge which they had of their acceptance in his sight through the sacrifice which they offered unto him”.
Our greatest blessings in this life and in the hereafter will come through our willingness to sacrifice as the Lord directs. Only through sacrifice and the faith it generates, the Prophet taught, can we achieve happiness in the eternities: “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life”.
The law of sacrifice should be taught and practiced in every Latter-day Saint home (see M. Russell Ballard, “The Blessings of Sacrifice,” Ensign, May 1992, 77). We do this by making repentance a part of our lives, by faithfully paying our tithes and offerings, by obeying the commandments, by doing family history work and attending the temple, by being an example to others, and by being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father”
That may seem absolutely impossible at times, but as we learn to be submissive, we will be shaped and molded into the people that the Savior and our Father in Heaven need us to be. I am trying to be much more willing to sacrifice things, it isn't easy, but I know that someday it will all be worth it.