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Communion (1995 Series)

Teaching by Example

Scheduled for May 11, Mother's Day

A teacher put this question to little James in his arithmetic class.  "James, suppose your mother made a peach pie, and there were ten of you at the table -- your mother and father and eight children.  How much of the pie would you get?" 

James replied, "That's easy!  I would get one ninth." 

His teacher contradicted him, "No, no, James.  Pay attention!"  There are ten of you. Ten, remember.  Don't you know your fractions?" 

"Yes I do," came the reply from James.  "I know my fractions, but you don't know my mother!  She would say that she didn't want any pie."


Those of us who were raised in Christian homes, especially those in which “mom” was a stay at home mother, soon learned that Christian charity has its specialties.  It is a rare man (but not unknown, we have one in our class) who will make dinner for a family in need.  It is a common thing for Christian women to take food to those recovering from surgery.  More than that, however, as young James has illustrated to us, the most common example that a Christian mother shows her young children is that of sacrifice.  It may not be something young children understand to its depth, but it is unmistakable in its impression.  Mom makes sacrifices for her family.

Indeed, as we grow older, we learn even more from this.  We learn why Mom makes sacrifices for her family:  because she loves them.  As my wife and I have built a home, I have seen the same thing in her.  In just the little things of daily living, it is amazing how much she does out of love.  She may be frazzled at the end of the day, but it’s the frazzle of a human being doing the things she loves to do.  There is a difference between labor and “labor of love.”


It seems, therefore, that in our earliest and closest examples of love we learn this principle:  Love means sacrifice.  You cannot love someone without sacrificing for them.  It is the way in which the universe is constructed, a moral principle not to be altered.  The coming of our Lord and his sacrifice on the Cross are the supreme example of that principle.  Indeed, how could it be otherwise?  The One whose very character is love comes in the flesh;  could he then avoid sacrificing for the ones he loves, namely, us?

He did more than that.  He did not just sacrifice for us;  he became the Sacrifice for us.  With his own body and blood he became the sacrifice for our sins.  In so doing, he showed us another side of love.  Love does not wait for the beloved to become worthy.  A mother with a newborn baby knows that it will take years just to get to “please” and “thank you.”  The smile of an infant is a joyous thing.  A howling little monster who needs his diaper changed, face fed and a nap is quite another.  Mom cannot turn the kid back in at the hospital   Love cannot wait for worthiness.


Christ is our sacrifice, not because we are worthy, but because He loves us.  As you take the Lord’s Supper, remember:  He loved you first.


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