The Human Cost of Sacrifice

by | Mar 26, 2019

Read Matthew 12:9–14

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus,they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.


Oversized Expectations

The Pharisees were constantly on the lookout for those who broke religious law by working on the Sabbath. They were so consumed with legalism that they forgot what it truly meant to do good, to please the heart of God. The unnecessary expectations they placed upon themselves, their seemingly spiritual sacrifice, had a human cost. It is all too easy for religious fervor to overtake Scripture. And over time, we find ourselves out of alignment with the heart behind the words. Work is the same.


Calculating the Human Cost

More often than not, what is required and expected of us is to do our work well. But how often do we add onto that? Do we really need to prove our commitment by letting work overtake the things we hold most dear? Jesus would say, “No.” Oversized expectations often start from a desire to do well. But there is a human cost.

Sacrificing ourselves for the good of others, even the mission of an organization, can be a powerful thing. But it’s important to keep in mind the cost. If our sacrifice for work can be counted by the number of family meals missed and weekend glances at work email, it is probably time for a realignment.

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