Sacrifice -- a rare commodity
There is a lot more talk about sacrifice than there is evidence of the same. Sacrifice is the giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something considered to be of more value or importance. Sacrifice is at the heart of both the Old and New Testaments. It is evident in most of the world's religions.
Sacrifice is the message of Jesus. In his life and words he reminds us that "greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” The Golden Rule keeps punching us in our conscience and heart, that we should do to others what we would want them to do to us.
Someone is hungry and in need, Americans by nature come to their aid. It is second nature for most Americans to reach out and help others. Not looking for a reward or a crown. Just doing it because it is right. To each of us much is given, and much will be required.
Sacrifice is a core Christian practice.
Sacrifice was something we did during World War II. Many hundreds of thousands of families gave the ultimate sacrifice serving and dying in our military. Even if a family had the money, they could not buy a new automobile. None were manufactured for civilians from 1943 through 1945. Gasoline was rationed along with many items like butter, sugar. and rubber automobile tires. Re-treads on tires were common, costly and not too reliable.
Of all the questions put to those running for president and vice-president, sacrifice has come up only once. In the second Presidential Debate, NBC's Tom Brokaw ask both men that as president, "what sacrifices will you ask every American to make to help restore the American dream and to get out of the economic morass that we're now in?”
Neither of the senators running for president had an answer. We have become used to politicians side-stepping direct questions, but this time they needed to step up to the plate and speak the truth as they know it. Neither one wanted to go on the record and honestly tell us that rough times are ahead and we are going to be asked to sacrifice in one way or another.
Senator McCain went first and said some government programs may need to be eliminated. There was nothing concrete in his response. He is going to examine every agency and every bureaucracy of government since many are not working. Also he will eliminate earmarks. Nothing about sacrifice.
Senator Obama began his answer by criticizing President George W. Bush, after 9/11, urging the American people to go shopping. He then said that was not sacrifice when the people were hungry for leadership. Instead of addressing the question Obama used some of his campaign points. Nothing about sacrifice.
Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, asks "Why would two card-carrying Christians evade the issue of sacrifice in a nation where the overwhelming majority professes faith and a significant slice say the nation is Christian?
If our politicians do not attempt to lead, then men of the cloth, the "reverends," deacons, elders and laity must lead in this time of financial crisis. Religious leaders of every stripe need to call out the flocks to a deeper dedication and resolve. Some sacrifice is ahead and is time to wake up and take responsibility. Today is not the time for the lowest elements of our society to continue wandering in the wastelands.
Sacrifice for the common good has been in the back of the third balcony long enough. Sacrifice for the common good must be brought to the orchestra seats or even better, onto the center stage.