Sacrifice has come to be a law of life. Wherever there is sin there will be a call for sacrifice. For sin makes need, and need intensifies into emergency. And need and emergency mean sacrifice thrust upon some one in peril. And they call for sacrifice, volunteered by some one, who would save the man in peril. And wherever there are true men and women, as well as need, there will be sacrifice.
And sin is everywhere. Even nature is full of evidence of a bad break in all of its processes. The finger-marks of decay and death are below and above and all around in all its domain. That is sin's unmistakable ear-mark. Man's mental powers, and his loss of a full knowledge of his powers, tell the same story. And so there is need. Everywhere you turn need's pathetic face, drawn and white, looks piteously into yours, pleading mutely for help.
And so there is sacrifice. Sacrifice is sin's healing shadow. It follows sin at every turn, binding up its wounds, pouring in the oil and wine of its own life, and taking the hurt victims into its own warm heart. Nothing worth while has ever been done without sacrifice. Every good thing done cost somebody his life. The life was given out with a wrench under some sharp tug. Or it was given in the slower, more painful, more taxing way of being lingeringly given out through years of steadfast doing or enduring.
Every man who has done something worth while for others has spilled some of his life-blood into it. His work and name may have become known. Or he may belong to the larger number of blessed faithfuls whose names are unknown here, but treasured faithfully above. Either way, the tinging red of his life is upon the thing he did. The nations that are freest cost most in the making, in the lives of men. Every church, and every mission station, has had to use red mortar as its walls went up.
Every bit of advance ground gained for liberty and truth has been stained with the life-blood of the advance-guard. You can depend upon it that whatever you are to do that will really help must have a bit of your own self, your very life in it. Immortality of action comes only by the infusion of human blood.
Sacrifice attends us faithfully from the cradle to the body's last resting-place. The giving of one's self for others begins with the beginning of life, and never ends till life ends. Each of us comes into life through the sacrifice of the mother who bore us. That love-service of hers would not have been a sacrifice, but only a joy, had sin's cramping, restricting atmosphere not been breathed into all life. Now, with much pain, and great danger, and sometimes at the cost of life, it becomes a sacrifice. Yet it is a sacrifice of great sweet joy to her.
And that same spirit of sacrifice attends our baby years, and childhood experiences, and school-days, and times of sickness, and our matured years. The more faithfully those who make up your life-circle yield to the law of sacrifice, and give of themselves out to you, the finer and stronger you grow to be, and the sweeter life becomes to you. And every selfish shirking and shrinking back by some one impoverishes your life by so much.
A hush of awe comes over one's spirit as we recall that even for the Son of God there was no exception to this law, as He took His place down among human conditions. It was by His own blood that He saved men, and saves men. It was the spilling out of His own life that brings such blessed newness of life to us. His was a living sacrifice through all the years, and then greatest when that life, so long being given, was given clean out.
That sacrifice of His stands unapproached, and can never be approached by any other. His relation to sin was different from that of all other men. He made a sacrifice for men in a sense that no other can. Yet, while that is true, it is equally true that every man who follows Him will drink of His cup of sacrifice.
But it's a cup of joy now, for His drinking drained out all the bitter dregs. He asks us into the inner fellowship of His suffering. The work He began isn't yet done. He asks our help. We may fill up the measure of His sacrifice yet needed, in healing men's wounds and in throttling sin's power.