Looking back over my life, I have come to realize how many sacrifices out of sheer love my family, and many of my mentors in my life made for me.

When my brother and I were growing up all our needs were met and we wanted for very little. You could say, to some extent, we were spoiled.

But, I thank God that those people not only made sacrifices for our physical needs, but they made sacrifices for our emotional and spiritual needs. They not only verbally taught us great lessons but set examples and lived godly lives before us during very challenging times.

A month ago, I watched the celebration of the life for Congressman John Lewis who kept up “good trouble” from the time he was a teenager until he died.

I could not help but think of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 60s. Some 40 people were identified, but probably more died. And, let us be clear. People of all races, creeds and religions sacrificed their lives as well during that time of sacrificing for a better America.

My heart is heavy with the weight of the virus pandemic, peaceful demonstrations that often times turn violent, a lack of family values, and a truly divided nation. I am praying and meditating daily for better days and for us to work together making sacrifices that please God. The Apostle Paul said it like this:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Are we becoming an immoral nation, being selfish and defiant to the will of God? Are we doing what is in the best interest of all people in our nation or for just a few? Remember the Roman Empire was one of the greatest empires of all time. Yet the empire was destroyed not by any outside forces, but by the citizen on the inside living immorally.

It is time for those of us who profess Christ to strive to be the light in darkness.

Let us step outside our comfort zone, and be the change we want to see. Make some sacrifices. Get in a relationship with God that will draw us closer to others. Let us think less of ourselves and more of others. Somewhere, everyday, someone is in need of a blessing, whether it be food, water or shelter. Sometimes, just a simple phone call to encourage someone or daily prayer about present situations can prove most valuable. Just know that we are blessed to be a blessing. Therefore, let us be givers.

“Give and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).

Finally, let us love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Jesus taught us to love others even as He has loved us. Jesus’ love made the ultimate sacrifice. Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friend. Let the change we want to see begin with us. Please God and changes will come.

The Rev. Carey N. Ingram is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.

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