Tag Archives: sacrifice

A Reminder of the Truest of All Stories

Story of the Day for Saturday September 8, 2012 

 

A Reminder of the Truest of All Stories

 

                On the tree, Jesus himself bore our sins in his body . . . by his wounds you’ve been healed. .

                                                                                   1 Peter 2:24

 

 

Albert Schweitzer’s two volume masterpiece on the life of J.S. Bach has pride of place on my living room bookshelf. But I do not admire him most as an author.

Schweitzer was a performing musician – packing concert halls throughout the world with his organ recitals. But I don’t admire him primarily as a musician.

At the height of his fame, Schweitzer left the cathedrals and concert halls to study theology. Even though he became world-renowned as a brilliant theologian, I don’t admire him most as a theologian.

When the academic world stood in awe of his theological insights, he resigned his professorship at the university to study medicine.

 

He went to med school, and, as soon as he was certified as a medical doctor, he got lost in the jungles of equatorial Africa and built a makeshift hospital to serve the poorest of the poor.

Albert Schweitzer’s interpretation of Bach helped me understand the majesty of God. His theology, unfortunately, didn’t help me understand much – other than to expose the tired dogmatisms of some of his contemporaries. But, I admire Schweitzer most for helping me to see that God would sacrifice himself to make me well again.

 

Schweitzer treated many diseases among the African natives, but he had no medicine to treat yellow fever. Then he heard that Professor Ernest Bueding had come from the U.S. to the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Along with fellow researchers, Bueding was experimenting with a vaccine for yellow fever.

One day, the Institute got a telephone call, inquiring about the vaccine. They informed him that the vaccine appeared to be successful, but that it had not yet been tested for side effects.

The phone caller appeared the next day and requested the vaccine. When told they couldn’t give him the vaccine until tests proved it was safe, the man replied that he intended to administer the vaccine only to himself – to personally verify its safety.

Dr. Bueding correctly suspected the anonymous caller was Dr. Schweitzer, and told the good doctor it would be foolish to try the vaccine in its experimental stage. But Schweitzer countered that he would not give his African patients anything he would not take himself.

Bueding finally caved in and injected Schweitzer with the experimental drug. After two days of observation at the Pasteur Hospital, Schweitzer was declared fit to travel back to his hospital in Africa – with a desperately-needed antidote for yellow fever.

 

At the organ bench and podium, Schweitzer dazzles us with his genius and virtuosity. But it’s his willingness to sacrifice himself for the sick in a remote African village that captures our highest admiration, for he reminds us of the truest of all stories.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and Marty Kaarre)

Aaron the Bus Driver

Story of the Day for Thursday May 3, 2012

Aaron the Bus Driver

                 When we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him by the death of his Son. 

                                                        Romans 5:10

 

Chuck Swindoll tells the story of a man he calls Aaron.

Aaron lived in the Chicago area and prayed that the Lord might give him a significant ministry. He wanted to serve in a Christian organization or on a church staff, but nothing turned up.

After weeks of praying and searching, he found nothing, so he resigned himself to finding any job he could, and began driving bus in southside Chicago.

Aaron’s route took him through a dangerous section of the city. Gangs would board the bus and refuse to pay. They would taunt him as well as the other passengers.

This went on for several days. Finally, Aaron spotted a police officer standing at a bus stop. He reported the gang members and the policeman made them all pay their fare.

But then the policeman got off the bus, and the gang members stayed on.  After the bus was out of sight of the policeman, they assaulted Aaron.

 

When Aaron regained consciousness, there was blood all over his shirt. Two teeth were missing, his eyes were swollen, his money was gone, and the bus was empty.

As Aaron recuperated at home from his injuries, his resentment against God began to build. He was willing to serve God in ministry. He prayed for an opportunity to serve, and this is how God thanks him for his willingness and dedication?

 

On Monday, Aaron pressed charges, and with assistance from the police and eyewitnesses, the gang members were rounded up and arrested.

At the hearing, Aaron walked into the courtroom with his attorney, and the thugs glared at him.

When the gang members pleaded guilty to the charges, however, Aaron stood up and asked for permission to speak. “Your honor, I would like you to total up all the days of punishment against these men . . .” Then he continued, “And I request that you allow me to go to jail in their place.”

The judge was stunned. Both attorneys were stunned. But, most of all, the gang members looked at him with wide-eyed amazement.

The judge ruled him out of order and told Aaron that this sort of thing had never been done before.

“Oh, yes, it has, your honor . . . yes, it has. It happened over nineteen centuries ago when a man from Galilee paid the penalty that all mankind deserved. “

Aaron went on to speak how Jesus died for our sins to bring his love and forgiveness to everyone.

 

The judge denied Aaron’s request. But Aaron visited his attackers in jail. Most of them became Christians. And, so he began the significant ministry he had prayed for, in the tough neighborhoods of southside Chicago.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)


Bear Any Sacrifice

Story of the Day for Wednesday March 7, 2012

Bear Any Sacrifice

                          Jesus said, “Why do you nullify the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” 

                                                     Matthew 15:3

 While many in the American colonies considered the Indians to be savage sub-humans, William Penn always treated them with kindness and respect. He learned their language so he could talk to them without an interpreter.

Even though he bought land from King Charles II of England, and named it “Penn’s forest,” or “Pennsylvania,” he realized the land was inhabited by the Delaware tribes, and bought the land a second time from the Indians. Penn purchased land west and north of Philadelphia “as far as a man can go in a day and a half.” Both Penn and the Delaware tribe were satisfied with this purchase.

After Penn’s death, however, the provincial secretary James Logan, used the wording of the treaty to establish the infamous Walking Treaty of 1737. He had a path cleared in the forest in a straight line. Then he hired the three fastest runners in the colony to run as far as they could in a day and a half.

On September 19, 1737, Edward Marshall outdistanced his companions and ran a full 70 miles — creating an area of 1,200,000 acres (which is roughly equivalent to the size of Rhode Island).

Not surprisingly, the Delaware tribes were outraged. Nevertheless, the Delaware chiefs consented to the agreement, and were forced to move west of their tribal homelands.

Did James Logan honor the treaty that Penn made with the Delaware tribes? In a strict sense he could claim that he obeyed the law. But in his heart he knew this was robbery.

 

In 1147, Pope Eugene III traveled to Paris. He arrived on Friday, which was inconvenient because Friday was a day of fasting. So, in order to allow the citizens of Paris the opportunity to celebrate his coming, he decreed that Friday was Thursday.

 

We learn how to wiggle out of agreements from a young age. When I was a kid, you could break a promise if you crossed your fingers behind your back when you made it.

 

The religious leaders from Jerusalem knew that God commanded children to take care of their parents in their old age. But they wiggled out of the law by claiming that, if someone dedicated their possessions to God, they didn’t have to support their parents.

Jesus wasn’t buying it.

 

The Bible repeatedly tells us to fulfill our promises. It makes sense: God doesn’t want us to cheat other people.

But I think there’s even more to it. As we learn that keeping a promise takes a sacrifice, we better understand that Jesus made a promise to rescue us . . . and he would bear any sacrifice to fulfill it.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

Not Just the Kids

Story of the Day for Thursday February 9, 2012

Not Just the Kids

                     Even if my life is poured out like a sacrificial drink offering . . . I am happy and share my joy with all of you. 

                                                       Philippians 2:17

If you want to be happy, how do you intend to get there?  Or, let’s rephrase the question. What is the most reliable path to happiness: pleasure or sacrifice?

 

The question sounds silly until we think about it a while. But let’s imagine a football team has just won the Super Bowl. One offensive tackle has played the entire game. At the final whistle he’s dirty, bruised, and exhausted.

His replacement at right tackle never played a single down. No pain. Not even a grass stain on his uniform.

One offensive tackle finished the game in complete comfort; the other played his heart out and “left it all on the field.” Which right tackle do you think would be more exuberant at the end of the game? Which tackle would’ve wished to be in the other’s shoes?

 

Comfort brings pleasure and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Yet, there’s a world of difference between pleasure and joy.

The Bible says that Jesus, “for the joy set before him” endured the shame and agony of the cross. No one can call torture a pleasure. But when the Lord offers to sacrifice his own life to save ours, he can speak of joy.

 

Sacrifice sounds painful, but when it’s done for love it brings joy. The apostle Paul is writing from prison, yet he’s wildly happy, and thinks everyone else should be happy with him. Paul describes himself as being a sacrificial offering that he is giving for the sake of others. And the very thought of it makes him explode into joy.

 

I don’t know who came up with the idea, but it’s sheer brilliance. For over fifty years the Green Bay Packers have maintained a tradition during their summer training camps. When the players emerge from the locker room they have a short drive from the stadium to their practice facility.

But the players forego the drive. Instead, kids (ages 7-15) line up outside Lambeau Field with their bicycles. Each Packer picks a kid’s bike to ride to the practice field. If you’ve never seen a burly NFL football player riding a little kid’s bike, let me assure you it’s a comical sight.

No one on the team is forced to ride a bike to practice. If a player wants pleasure , he can certainly afford a comfortable car to drive.

But, if a professional football player isn’t convinced that sacrifice trumps pleasure he has made an inadvisable career choice. Maybe that helps explain why virtually all the players choose to ride a little kid’s bike down the streets of Green Bay.

And why it’s not just the kids who are beaming.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)