Many people think of sacrifice as an old-fashioned thing. In the Bible it seems to be something confined to the Old Testament, done away with in Christ’s “new law.” When the ancient Israelites failed to qualify to “enter into God’s rest,” He gave them a “schoolmaster law,” which was a law of outward ordinances. Rituals, and practices, and patterns of religious behavior were all symbolic of the Christ, a preparation for the higher law to come. When Jesus was offered up, He became the great and last sacrifice by the shedding of blood, and asked us to come unto Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and to place our sins upon the altar. As we progress, we are also able to place our will upon the altar, and to surrender our lives to His service.
What then of sacrifice? Sacrifice means giving up something for a higher good. When one considers the two levels of priesthood, the Aaronic or lower priesthood, and the Melchizedek, or higher priesthood, sacrifice couples with repentance as Aaronic principles. They are foundational—the floor of the eternal, precious edifice that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Upon them, we build on a sure foundation, adding the Gift of the Holy Ghost, our desires to reconcile with God, and our surrender to His will.
In Mormonism, which is the Church of Jesus Christ restored in it’s fullness in these last days before His Second Coming, Latter-day Saints exercise the principle of sacrifice in many ways.
Tithing is by definition one tenth of one’s increase, and has always been a law of the gospel. A person who pays tithing in the proper spirit realizes that all he or she has comes from God, and that all He requests is one tenth in return as an offering. By living this law, followers of the Savior reap the blessings He has promised to the obedient. In fact, He blesses us so much, that we are again in His debt. The paying of tithing is ennobling. Tithe payers increase in humility, sensitivity to the Spirit, faith, and patience, even as they are blessed line upon line with the doctrines of the kingdom, and even with worldly sustenance. This is not a prosperity gospel, but a sustenance promise. Those full-tithe-payers who have faced financial emergencies have been rescued time after time by miraculous means.
The Church of Jesus Christ has no professional clergy. Members are called to serve in various capacities from time to time. They are called by inspiration, often to positions they consider out of their comfort zones or abilities. The faithful always accept callings and only resign in emergency situations. Many of these callings require a large commitment of time as well as prayer, preparation, and study. Mormons give of their time outside of their specific callings, too. The welfare system of the Church of Jesus Christ is remarkable in all the world, and world leaders visit Welfare Square in Salt Lake City to see how it works. Members donate their time to work in the orchards, farms, and canneries of the Church in order to provide for the poor. Their extra donations of money specifically for the poor also help. These funds are offered once each month on “Fast Sunday,” when Mormons fast for two meals and donate the value of that food to the welfare system.
The Lord asks us to lay our sins upon the altar and come unto Him. Mormons follow a health law called the Word of Wisdom that forbids the use of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and recreational drugs. Many of those investigating the Church of Jesus Christ in order to learn the gospel and be baptized must make huge changes in their lives. Those who are cohabiting must separate or marry. They must give up habits of pornography, or the substances not allowed by the Word of Wisdom. They lay all these behaviors upon the altar and repent of anything else amiss in their lives in order to be ready for baptism, to be prepared to take upon themselves the name of Christ and to provide a holy vessel to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the constant companionship of the Spirit.
As followers of Christ draw closer to Him and turn away from the world, they begin to realize that He is much wiser than they at choosing the course for their lives. They see the wisdom in surrendering their will to His and praying for Him to direct their paths. These sincere followers will change the direction of their lives to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This lifestyle requires repeated leaps of faith, because often, what Christ would have us do seems to make no sense to us. Later, it all becomes clear, when we have followed His counsel and then, even though difficult, turns out much better than what the alternative would have been. The Church of Jesus Christ is full of people who give up their professions to serve as mission presidents; who postpone school, sports, and relationships to serve missions.
A Christian who is willing to sacrifice all things for Christ is preparing for sanctification. He is willing to consecrate whatever he has or is for the building up of God’s kingdom on earth. The Lord may never require this from him, but He knows the person is willing. There are repeated tests in life where we may choose God’s will or our own. Through our thoughts and actions, God knows who is willing to follow Him at any cost. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were two men who proved their willingness to give all. Although people deride the Book of Mormon (through hearsay, having never read it nor prayed about it), Joseph and Hyrum willingly went to their death (knowing beforehand they were about to be martyred) as a testimony to its truthfulness.
Gale is a former fibro and CMP sufferer. She hopes this information will help other sufferers on their journey to good health.