Another thought I’d like to offer up comes from my understanding of “utoaji’ and “sadaka.”

Utoaji= offering

Sadaka= sacrifice

What do these words mean to you?…

To me, both have significant value but in differing ways. You can offer your service or help to someone. You can offer some advice or an explanation if the situation arises. You can lay an offer on the table as an asking-price or compromise for something desired. In American churches, we collect an offering each week. Offerings generally seem to be focused on giving from what you already have and thus, describes something manageable to give from our way of life.

Sacrifices, on the other hand, describe a thing which is given up for something or someone. We sacrifice our time to others. A “sacrifice fly” in baseball prevents one person from trying his chances on the bases in order for another teammate to advance and/or score. Many conversations about love and relationships mention sacrifice regularly. Sacrifices are usually difficult, painful and thus…rare.

Churches in Tanzania, however, don’t give offerings…they give sacrifices. So what? It’s just a word, right? What does it mean when one chooses to sacrifice something than simply offer it? How would your support of your church and community be different if you sacrificed more for it?

Week after week, I’ve seen Mark 12:41-43 (check it out here… 2 copper coins…) lived out as people give as much from their heart as they do the change tucked away in the pockets of their Sunday best. It isn’t an offering but a sacrifice they lift up to God… They could have used it to comfort-ize their lives a little more but they didn’t…

What in your life are you offering to a friend, a loved one, a church, school, or some organization or even…God… when a sacrifice could reflect your love more?

When I reflect on my life, the people who have influenced me the most were the ones who made sacrifices to help me be who I am today. I think (and of course thank also) my parents, my family, a number of teachers and pastors, several friends from the L-E days, the Wofford ways and my stint in the Queen City (you all know who you are!) and others who arrived at various points in my life quite providentially. To these sacrificers, I am grateful and will never forget not just what you did for me…but what you gave up for me.

 

I hope you find the time to write down a similar list and, better yet, seek them out to share that gratitude. May your life be filled with offerings and sacrifices to those around you.

And each day, may you witness the sacredness of sacrifice.

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