One of the most vivid memories of my childhood that I have is of a time when I sat at a table and learned about love, grace and sacrifice. At our house, birthdays were something special. There was the usual gift and cake, but what made birthdays so special was that the birthday boy or girl would be able to choose dinner that night. You could choose the meal at home or you could choose to go out to eat. I had been planning for weeks the dinner for my birthday. I had seen a commercial for a restaurant called Monte’s and I knew that is where I wanted to go. The night finally came, we got dressed up and the four of us went out to eat.
We arrived at Monte’s and were met by a man in a suit, who welcomed us and led us to our reserved table. We sat down and I was amazed; there were different forks, spoons and knives and the napkins were folded perfectly in each glass. That night I ate like a king. I had Hawaiian Ham, which was baked ham with a pineapple ring on it. I also had some potatoes and green beans. The meal was great and I was on top of the world. But then the bill came. I remember watching as my mom reached into her purse and carefully counted the dollars, quarters and dimes, and left them all on the table.
To be honest, I really did not understand until years later what happened that night. Mom never said anything about it, but years later I understood. She had saved and scraped together enough money, making sacrifices and doing without, so that her boy would be able to enjoy a birthday dinner.
And while others might not see her actions as Risk Taking Mission and Service, I think it is the greatest example I have ever witnessed. Service causes us to empty ourselves so that Jesus lives through us, we are tattooed and our faith becomes Risky Business! Christian author, Frederich Buechner noted that “to sacrifice is to make something holy by giving it away in love.”
A long, long time ago, in a place far, far away, I saw someone make a sacrifice holy because she gave it away in love. . .