Red Cardigan has a thoughtful post on the practice of offering up sacrifices for each other. Very timely for Lent, of course. Her metaphor really touched my mother’s heart. I’m still working on understanding what it means to offer up a sacrifice for someone else. Recently I’ve found myself thinking on the topic quite often.
God doesn’t need us to offer things up for each other. He can do everything, without our help. In many ways, our clumsy, well-meaning actions are like those of the child who accidentally empties a dishwasher full of dirty dishes—we leave Him with more work to do, when all is said and done. But I think, loving Father that He is, that He delights in our efforts to grasp the corner of our neighbors’ crosses, not because our help is efficacious on its own, but because He sees that we are trying, however clumsily or weakly or misguidedly, to be like Him.
And because we are pleasing Him, we somehow find that our own crosses have gotten a little lighter; that as we reach out to help those around us, to shoulder some of their burdens and pray for some of their trials and listen to some of their fears and calm some of their worries and wipe away some of their tears, He is pouring out His grace upon the neighbor we our helping and on us, in a measure out of all proportion to our efforts.
As I watch Bella learning to practice small acts of charity toward her baby sister, I begin to understand more and more.