Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

“Real, personal sacrifice never was placing an animal on the altar. Instead, it is a willingness to put the animal in us upon the altar and letting it be consumed!” - Neal A. Maxwell-

There is a hymn that we sing in church that has the line "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." The song doesn't say who is the receiver of the blessings. That's because the possibilities are endless. Certainly the person receiving the sacrifice of the giver is blessed by the gift. Because the receiver has been blessed, he or she usually wants to be part of helping others, thus passing on the blessings. If each recipient continues to help others as he or she has been blessed, there is just no end to how many people can be helped.

Most assuredly the giver is always blessed. Sacrifice can be defined as giving up one thing for something better. No award, no plastic surgery, no amount of fame or money can increase a person's feelings of self worth more than voluntarily sacrificing for the good of another. What we do each day reverberates in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our communities. It has been said that "no man is an island" meaning that everything we do is felt in some way by someone else.

Sacrifice teaches us something about ourselves. What are we willing to do in time of need? Do we help others, or do we turn our backs and walk away, clutching our money, time, and belongings selfishly to our chests?

Truman G. Madsen told about a visit he made to Israel with Hugh B. Brown. In a valley known as Hebron, where tradition has it that the tomb of Father Abraham is located, Mr. Madsen asked Mr. Brown, “What are the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?” After a short moment of thought, Mr. Brown answered, “Posterity.” Mr. Madsen wrote: “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 Mr. Brown had thought and prayed and wept over that question before. He finally said, ‘Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham’ ” (The Highest in Us [1978], 49).

God has promised certain blessings to those who are willing to sacrifice. He teaches us about the law of Tithing in the Old Testament book of Malachi, chapter 3, verse 10. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." He will open the windows of heaven for paying tithing. How much more will he do for us when we reach out to lift another and share his burden?

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