In my Sunday School class at Orlena U.M., we are studying I Peter. Of course, Peter was one of the original 12 disciples chosen by Christ. Thinking about Peter when I started these lessons made me ponder him and all the others and what sacrifices they made. They gave up everything familiar - wives, children, extended family, their home, their job, their neighbors, knowing the town they lived in - everything to follow a man they didn't even know who had a purpose they knew nothing about.
Then, I began to think that although we may not get involved in something of the same nature, but we do make sacrifices every day.
Parents spend a lifetime, literally, making sacrifices for their children. I just read a story about a father whose son desperately wanted to "fit in" at school and desired a certain type of shoe. The father scraped and saved - and sacrificed other things - while his shoes were lined with cardboard to cover the holes in the soles to provide for his son.
Some parents may not be in that position, but they do without and stretch or change the budget for their kids. Like that extra money required to pay the car insurance when the daughter starts driving. Or the lifelong, putting away of savings so that she can go to college and get that education mom and dad didn't get.
People sacrifice, as well, on the job. There is that lunch planned for next week with a best friend, something looked forward to with much anticipation. But, when that day comes, there is a project at work that must be finished that very day, and it takes that lunch hour to finish it.
There is that employee who calls in sick, and the other employee who fills in - perhaps sacrificing time with the family that was really important to someone at home, waiting.
We all have friends who have made sacrifices for us. Where would we be without them? They deliver food to our door when the flu has us laid out on the couch. They call to see if we're OK when they know we're having a "down" day. They surprise us by stopping by work and taking us to lunch on the day we needed it most. We get that card in the mail that says, "Just checkin' on ya," when we thought the world had forgotten all about us.
We, likely, overlook the sacrifices made by those closest to us. Marriage is a contract of two, give and take. Most of us, if we're honest, do more taking than giving.
But, when the giving is a real sacrifice, the reward is genuine. Like having the most demanding day at work possible but still going home and fixing his favorite meal that takes longer that you wanted to spend. A bowl of soup would have been so much easier!
Or moving all those tools spread over the garage floor - and the snow blower - so she can pull her car in out of the snow and ice. You would rather have been watching the ballgame, but sometimes sacrifice is worth it.
And the gift of sacrifice can come full circle. So many of us are living longer now, and our kids are taking care of us. We get to the point we shouldn't be driving anymore, so son or daughter takes us where we need to go - while at the same time there is the responsibility of taking their kids to soccer and dance class. They come, without hesitation, when a window is stuck or when that ceiling light needs a new bulb. Important things to us. ... Sacrifices made by them.
So there, I think, lies the lesson in Christ choosing the 12. It was to demonstrate to us that life is going to require things of us we don't expect or don't want to do. But, once done, will offer a reward we didn't see coming. Life can be long and arduous, but the sacrifices can make it all worth it. We can look back and see them as guideposts along the way and know, in our heart, that we did the right things.
Now, back to that story I mentioned of the father and son. The father gave his son enough money for the new shoes the boy so desired. Just after that, going to bed one night, the son passed by his father's shoes, there on the floor near his favorite chair. The cardboard and broken shoe strings glared back at him.
He went to the shoe store the next day and bought a pair of shoes for his father. He had learned a valuable lesson in sacrifice.