The greatest sacrifice of love in history occurred in Christ’s death on the cross. God allowed His only Son to become mortal—Word made flesh—and then to endure the most excruciatingly painful and publicly humiliating death possible: crucifixion.
God’s love for us is truly incomprehensible. Our love has limits, but God’s love has none. It’s completely unconditional, no strings attached.
God’s sacrifice reminds me of the story of a man who operated a drawbridge over a bay in a small ocean town. Every day he would walk up to the office next to the drawbridge, where he could control the lever. He would pull up the lever, the drawbridge with the train track on it would rise, and enormous ships would glide through. Then he would push the lever down, and the drawbridge would lower so the train could cross safely.
Almost every day his little boy would go to work with him—he loved to watch his dad raise and lower the drawbridge. One day when they were there together, the dad was radioed that a nonscheduled train was on its way and he needed to lower the drawbridge. He glanced out the window just as he was touching the lever, and he saw his little boy outside playing in the huge gears of the drawbridge next to the shore. He yelled for him, but his son couldn’t hear him with all the commotion and noise near the water.
The man raced out of the office and ran toward his son to try to grab him and pull him to safety but then the horrible truth struck him. If he didn’t push down that lever right away, the train would plunge into the sea, and hundreds of passengers would die. But if he lowered the bridge, his son would be killed. At the last possible second he made his terrible decision, raced back to his station, and pulled down the lever, falling to his knees in agony as his little boy was crushed to death.
With tears streaming down his cheeks, he looked out and saw the train racing safely over the bridge. He could see in the window of one of the dining cars that people were eating, drinking, and laughing, totally oblivious to the great sacrifice he had just made so they could live.
Most of us are totally oblivious to the great sacrifice God has made. He gave His only Son, who came to this earth and died for us to forgive us of our past guilt, to give us purpose in the present, and to give us a future that includes heaven. As you think about what it means to give sacrificially to those around you, maybe you should first think about how much God has sacrificed for you.