Thank You for Your Sacrifice

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Twenty-Six

The Fourth of July, 2018 is less than approximately twenty-six hours away as I write this article. It is fitting at this time to reflect on the sacrifices of innumerable veterans and active military that have provided me the freedom to write and you to read these words.
Servicemen and women embody a type of love, the fifth of five endangered characteristics of true character suggested by Bill Hybels in his book Who You Are When No One’s Looking: Choosing Consistency, Resisting Compromise. The previous two weeks have focused on tender and tough love in lives of compassionate and hardhearted people. This week I share with you a third type of love, sacrificial love.
Jesus said in John 15: 13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (KJV). Soldiers daily put themselves in jeopardy to protect freedom for those of us who neither served in the armed forces nor show them the respect deserving of such sacrifice.
Love for mankind always involves sacrifice—it is more about being a servant than a hero. Not everyone has the opportunity to demonstrate sacrificial love by something as great as being a soldier or saving a stranger from a burning building. Often, such love is often shown in small ways. Sacrificial love is about giving, not receiving, and always costs the giver something. Hybels discusses three major categories of this cost in three areas of life—friendships, marriage, and the workplace.
First is time. True friendship, successful marriages and good workplace relationships take an investment of time, not only when things are pleasant and lovely, but when there is sickness, arguments, financial loss. The same vows prevalent in marriage ceremonies could also be applicable to relationships with friends and co-workers—in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse.
A second cost of sacrificial love is energy. A synonym for energy in this case might be “work”. True friendships don’t just accidentally happen, and the same is true for marriages and relationships with co-workers. The worldview promotes self-gratification through books, articles, commercials and advertisements. Too many children in public schools are taught the value of a good self-esteem without consideration for others’ feelings. When such children become adults, they often form superficial friendships, marriages and work relations with others similar to themselves. These relationships work for a while, until a need arises—then, because everyone is self-centered and not sympathetic or empathetic, needs go unfulfilled, and the friendship fails because of lack of commitment. Where there is a dry well, no water can be drawn, and thirst remains.
Time and energy are intangibles, but there is a third, tangible cost to sacrificial love—money. Money in and of itself is not a bad thing—it is the love of money that is the root of all evil (I Timothy 6:10 KJV). Surely everyone could give numerous examples of this. I once knew two people. One had a car that was inherited from a parent that was rarely driven, while the other had a son who had a wreck and needed a car. When the person whose son had a need asked the other for the loan of the car, an emphatic NO with an oath was the reply, and the friendship cooled.
The ultimate danger of the cheerful, sacrificial giver is the disappointment that comes with being taken advantage of and lack of recognition. A sacrificial giver can become disillusioned to the point of despair.
But do not confuse the “good old boy system” with sacrificial giving. There is a philosophy prevalent in our area that if a person does a good deed for someone, that person will in turn be obligated to return the favor upon demand. I knew a gentleman once who favored himself a politician. He showered his many “friends” with favors, but when he called to collect on his investments, he had stretched himself so thin and had become so politically impotent that those “friends” felt no obligation to waste a favor on one who could not pay them back.
Sacrificial giving in its purest sense means doing things for others with no thought of repayment. It was exemplified in my life by several people: the man who gave me five dollar bills when I was a child in church, knowing that I could not do anything for him; the church who gave my family a food basket after my father died, knowing that we would never contribute one dime to their offering; the lady who had her own children to provide for, yet bought me a suit to wear to my high school graduation; the elderly lady who took me into her home while my father was ill so I wouldn’t have to change schools, only to realize loss of privacy and the unknown demands of dealing with a headstrong teenager; the kind teacher who bought me a set of magic markers and delivered them to my house on a Saturday.
These memories make me ashamed of my own selfishness. I hope one day someone can remember me for having made her/his life better, just as my life has been made better by the examples of those listed above.
In my next article I plan to go radical!!!

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• November 14 in Kingsport
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Exact location information will be emailed to registered participants the week prior to workshops. Participants can bring their own laptop or tablet or use a tablet provided by the instructors. Because of the hands-on nature of the workshop, space is limited.

Obituary

Helen Marie Hulsey

Helen Marie Hulsey, 95, of Knoxville, passed away peacefully on November 12, 2018. Born on October 30, 1923 to Giuseppe and Mary Vazzana. Preceded in death by husband of 34 years, John W. Hulsey; daughters, Judy Petree and Brenda Underwood.
Survived by children Deborah Hulsey of Knoxville, James Hulsey, Mary James, and John Hulsey, all of Indianapolis. 16 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, 1 great great grandson, and her brother and 2 sisters. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and all who knew her.

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