April 6, 2018

The Spirit of Sacrifice

We tried small talk and hugs. Nothing. The tears continued unabated.

Jill Morikone

I stretched my aching back and looked at the pile of letters on my desk. They poured in with no end in sight. Some pressing, others not. Suggestions and stories, complaints and concerns, praises and prayers—they covered all topics. I shuffled through the stack and picked one up at random. Cursive handwriting. Overseas postage.

I casually slit it open, and everything else disappeared as I read. This woman—I’ll call her June—didn’t have a lot of money, but 3ABN had ministered to her life. She knew the gospel message of grace and salvation needed to be spread around the world, and she wanted to help. June decided to cancel her Internet subscription so she could save that money and send $20 every month to help others learn about Jesus and the truth in His Word.

Tears filled my eyes. Had I ever sacrificed like that? Absolutely not.

I recently sat in church as Mission Spotlight was played. A young man had gone as a Global Mission pioneer to Bangladesh. The story followed the villagers, none of them Christians, as they lived in poverty and drank water from the same stream they bathed in. They became ill, and the young man gathered them each evening for a prayer season. At the end of the week they were well! Many accepted Christ, and a church was organized in that far-off village.

My heart broke. Had I ever prayed or given or served like that? Probably not.

The loud buzzer sounded, and the double doors swung open. They closed behind me as my shoes clicked on the institutional floor. A nurse led me and a friend from church to the door of one of the patients’ rooms. Sally* didn’t even look up. She just sat, crying on her bed. Rocking from some inner pain. We tried small talk and hugs. Nothing. The tears continued unabated. I reached out and held her hands as we prayed. Nothing.

Would anything get through? She wasn’t always like this. God, how do we reach her?

Acting on impulse I picked up my Bible and flipped to one of my favorite psalms: Psalm 91. I began to read, inserting Sally’s name into the scriptures. “Sally will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I will trust.’” The rocking ceased as the Word of God flowed forth. Her sobs became quieter, then stopped altogether. By the end of that psalm a smile began to emerge.

I had seen the power of God’s Word before, but never as dramatically as that day with Sally. As I drove home, I thought about the spirit of sacrifice.

Was I called to give sacrificially? to travel overseas? Or just to visit a hospital? To me, the spirit of sacrifice comes each today. Today serving Jesus; today sacrificing myself; today walking in obedience to His voice.

Whatever that is. Wherever it may be. Forever.

*Not her real name

Jill Morikone is general manager for the Three Angels Broadcasting Network, a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.