My friends and I were rehearsing a violin, viola, and piano number. Someone walked by and commented to our pianist, Morgan Shamy, “Wow, you are so talented.” Her reply? “I practice a lot.” Have you ever noticed that if you want something worthwhile, you must sacrifice your time and effort to achieve that outcome? To do well on a test, you have to study first. To learn to play an instrument you must practice before you become proficient. To grow a savings account you have to work and save.
When our youngest son Steven turned 18, he chose to spend two years serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His sacrifice of time and effort is helping him learn to rely on the Lord. He recently told his missionary companion, “This is our time for sacrifice and service. We are giving our time to serve Jesus Christ. It’s not about us.” Isaiah describes it this way, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;’ they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV).
Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for the sins and injustices for all the human family had to be made so that he could sustain us. His willing sacrifice underpins everything in our existence—our joy, hope, relief from sin, and change of heart. His sacrifice produced the infinite grace by which we live and our hope of everlasting life. The Apostle Paul taught, “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor [sustain] them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 KJV). “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22-23 KJV).
The ancient American prophet Alma taught, “There can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world. And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal” (Alma 34:12,14). “He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”).
I love the words of the hymn “How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” by Eliza R. Snow (1804-1887):
“How great the wisdom and the love
That filled the courts on high,
And sent the Savior from above,
To suffer, bleed and die!
His precious blood He freely spilt;
His life He freely gave,
A sinless sacrifice for guilt,
A dying world to save.
By strict obedience Jesus won
The prize with glory rife:
“Thy will, O God, not mine be done,”
Adorned His mortal life.
He marked the path and led the way,
And ev’ry point defines
To life and light and endless day,
Where God’s full presence shines.
Sacrificing today to create a better tomorrow for ourselves is one of the ways we achieve our goals in life. But the greatest sacrifice was first willingly made by Jesus Christ. We can now experience a fullness of love and renewal. We have the hope of eternal life in the world to come. His sacrifice is infinite; His grace is unending. We are truly blessed. “He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son” (“The Living Christ”).
Beth Wright and her husband Kerry have raised their four children in the Matanuska-Susitna valley, enjoy the great Alaskan outdoors, and find great joy in being members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.