Earlier in the week as I was celebrating turning a year older, I was looking for a positive message that will be the guide to my new year. And what best place to get that than at church? I happened to be born on a Sunday back in 1987, and it’s not every year that my birthday falls on the same day I was born. Thanks to my mum for reminding me that fact. When she narrates our birthday stories, she describes it like it was yesterday #onlymums.
It’s great when you go to a place with the intention to learn, because somehow you learn something whether through a person, or a situation. And with that mind set, I managed to capture an important lesson at this stage of life, sacrifice. It’s not something you think about every other day. Actually, you barely think about it, because most of the time when you’re doing something, you do it because it’s your obligation/duty to do so. So when the pastor talked about it, I was really impressed.
When we hear the word sacrifice, we often think of completely selfless acts in which someone does something for another entirely for the other person’s benefit. But sacrifice isn’t purely altruistic. The best definition of sacrifice is this: “To forfeit something for something else considered to have a greater value.” (American Heritage Dictionary). Sacrifice does not mean giving up something for nothing; it means giving up one thing for something else we believe is worth more.
The thing about this sacrifice though, is that it has to be willingly done or else it becomes coercion. And what’s a sacrifice to one person, is not necessarily a sacrifice to another person. And that’s how the ‘bacon and egg’ story came about. Have you heard the story about the chicken and pig? It’s one that has several variants, especially as to how the chicken and pig meet, the level of the relationship between the two and the interpretation of the same. I will narrate it my way.
It all started when two farm animals were in a heated argument on who would make the best breakfast for the master. And their conversation could have gone something like this;
Chicken: I would give the master the best eggs.
Pig: And I would give the master the best sausages, bacon and ham.
Chicken: Well, the eggs can be made in different ways – boiled, sunny side up, scrambled.
Pig: You only serve eggs, while I have a variety of foods.
Pig: It’s really unfair that for you to offer your eggs, you just need to lay them, and I have to die. He’ll appreciate me more, because my sacrifice is bigger and better than yours.
I’m pretty sure the chicken was left dumbfounded and feeling bad about the situation. Because for this breakfast to happen, the chicken just lays eggs and probably experiences some labor pains, then life is back to normal. While the pig has to be slaughtered, and its life is kaput. Therefore, the pigs looks like it’s fully committed to this breakfast project and the chicken is just but a contributor.
They both want to make the master happy by offering their by-products, and they both have their reasons as to why they’re doing it – definitely for a greater good. It could be to get more affection or praise from the master. However, they are different and so there’s no way they can offer the same things to the master. And the moment they started comparing themselves, that’s where the sacrifice loses it’s meaning. Looking at if from pigs point of view, it probably starts feeling that whatever it’s offering is of more value than the chicken, because it’s giving its life away. While the chicken, now that it knows what the pig is putting on the table, could start feeling that it has less to offer than the pig.
When we relate it to life, sometimes we compare ourselves to others when we are making a sacrifice for something that’s of greater value to us. For instance, you and your friend want to follow your passion, but one is already free-lance so it’s easier for them to just follow on without re-adjusting much, while you are in formal employment therefore you have to resign in order to take this on, and re-adjusting to this lifestyle could take a toll on you. When you compare your situation of sacrifice with your friends, you feel like your friend has very little to give up, while you’re the one who’s going far and beyond to make this happen. Same things applies when it come to finances, when one person is investing more than the other towards the same objective.
The thing with sacrifice, is that you offer what you’re able to, and also because that’s what you want to. It’s about what your heart is willing to give, because only you know what you’ll derive from that action. So whether someone gives a portion of themselves, or their entire life, in as much as it’s easy to judge who is more committed, the little one has given could be all they have to give or even what’s needed for this project to work or. In that regard, little could be a lot.
So as you give, don’t compare your sacrifice to another persons sacrifice. Don’t feel greater or lesser than another person because you’re different – you have different abilities and you’re in different situations. However, always give the best of what you have, so that even when you look back at your life, you can feel fulfilled and that whatever you sacrificed is a good representation of who you are.
Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*