Monday, July 1, 2013

“I Hope You Know”

By Bryan McAlister
     What has it cost you?  Her world is defined by room numbers, meal times, therapy, events and activities all of which are scheduled for her by nurses, coordinators, and therapists. Her job is to live, to come and to go. Her purpose, some might say in the cynics view, has passed from this place. The Lord's Day came, and she was there with the others gathered. It was time to "lay by in store" as her soul had prospered. Her sacrifice, not of legal tender to settle all debts public or private, but of paper "money" (you might call it Monopoly Money), used to "purchase" things in her defined world. It meant one less thing to her, but was worth it for Him. That's what it cost.
     What has it cost you? She was always good with music and children. She taught them melodies and techniques, theory and style, pitch and harmony.  But one day she decided her occupation would expand. She would still teach above all, but she would also become a nurse, an executive, a counselor and confidant. She mastered art and sciences, and could always find the best places to hide and never be found. She would still do all these things and more for children, but only two, her two; our two. It meant one less accolade from the world, one less paycheck for the home, one less recognition of prestige. But it meant two more souls for Him.  That's what it cost.
     What has it cost you? His vision is dimmed and his hearing has dulled. His smile is still bright and his handshake still bold. The therapy takes so much energy and strength, irony of the aide to battle the illness. He continues to work, to pray, to push, to press, to place his feet at his post, the corner, you know the corner, in the foyer, by the doors.  His was the first hand I ever shook, probably you could say the same too. It means one less moment to rest, one less hour to sleep, one more day to push, just to shake your hand; your son's hand, who when he hears the words "Mr. Al is sick" instantly says, "He's the one who shakes my hand." That's what it cost.
     Can you find another meaning for sacrifice?  Maybe there is one that does not become so personal, is not so pervasive and will not be so pricey. Sacrifice has become so invasive, so insistent, and so inconvenient. Surely service without sacrifice is more appropriate in a modern world. At the heart of the word sacrifice you find the formula, "ifi" more appropriately, "if-i." If I surrender what would supply my soul for the moment, just so I could sacrifice that moment for Him...If I share my talent exclusively for others, just so I could sacrifice that talent for Him...If I stay my course here, no matter the pain or the pressure, the distress or the discomfort; just to sacrifice myself for Him, what has it cost? One less possession, one less paycheck, one less passing nap? What has it cost? I hope you know.

- Bryan McAlister preaches for the Centerville Church of Christ, in Centerville, TN.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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