Back in January of 1982, a plane crashed at National Airport in Washington D.C.  While  taking off during a snow storm, it lost altitude, bounced off a bridge and fell into the river.  In the aftermath of the tragedy, a helicopter was used to lift survivors from the icy water.  The rescue effort produced a number of heroes.

One of the most memorable was a man in the water.  When the helicopter came for him, he waved it on to another survivor.  He did this, not once, but several times.  And when the helicopter came back the last time, it was too late.  The man was no longer there.  He had slipped beneath the water and died.

Everyone who heard that story or watched it on television was deeply moved and saw it as an example of heroic character.  Why should we call that kind of behavior “good”?  It violates our most basic natural instincts.  In all probability, that man did not even know the people for whom he was sacrificing.  He had responsibilities of his own, to himself and to his family.  But turning his back on his personal concerns, he sacrificed his life for the sake of others.  We are strangely drawn to that kind of deed.  And we stand before it with heads bowed in awe and admiration.

Sacrificial goodness is the most powerful force in the moral life of the human race.  Christ and His cross are the supreme examples of this strange power.  He did what He did not have to do.  He did it for people who had no right to expect it.  And each day He challenges you and me to make that kind of living a part of our commitment to Him. 

Most of the time we think and speak of sacrificial living as if it were some lofty ideal attained only by a select few.  That is not the case.  Sacrifice is not an ideal, it is a fact of life; everybody does it.  The question is not whether we are willing to sacrifice.  We don’t have that choice.  The only choice we have is what we are willing to sacrifice. 

We cannot have lovely homes and foot-loose, fancy free, irresponsible lives at the same time.  If we will not    sacrifice uncommitted living for lovely homes, then we will sacrifice lovely homes for uncommitted living.  But we must sacrifice one or the other.  The same can be said of friendship.  If we will not sacrifice selfishness in order to share friendship, then we will sacrifice friendship in order to hold on to our selfishness.

So, let us get the picture clearly in mind.  We should sacrifice the lesser things in order to gain the greater things, instead of the other way around.

What do you want and what are you willing to give up in order to get it?  It is a very important question that we need to answer for ourselves.  It will make all the difference in the world in determining our future.