Word Nerd Wednesday – Sacrifice

Please welcome AdeleAlys from Mathews, North Carolina to My Messy Desk for this week’s edition of #WORDNerdWednesday. She brings a wealth of knowledge and a new perspective to the table. Please give her loads of encouragment as she begins her blogging journey next Month!


from Latin “sacra” – holy/sacred  &  “facio” – to make/to do

Verb: To give away something valuable to get at least the possibility to gain something else of value

Noun:  The act of  offering something precious to please a deity

Appears in the Bible 377 times

Sacrifice is Voluntary

We’ve all seen it: The clunker with the graying paint and the bashed in back fender- parked in the far corner of the Costco lot- a cardboard sign in the front window with the words MUST SACRIFICE printed in a hasty scrawl.

But forfeiture is not sacrifice.

Jesus himself set the precedent:

John 10:18 New Living Translation (NLT) No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily.  For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.

Sacrifice is Valuable

I long to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those I love and a significant contribution to the causes I believe in . Towards that end, I often exaggerate my investment of time and  talent – elevating both  to the level of “sacrifice.

If I registered as an organ donor and gave a lung -that would be a sacrifice. But a series of Saturday’s running carpool to soccer practice is an inconvenience not a sacrifice.

The Biblical model for “big ticket ” sacrifice is clear:

Leviticus 17:11 (NLT) For the life of the body is in its blood.. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord. It is blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible.

Hebrews 10:10 (NLT) For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

Sacrifice is extravagant and risky.

Here in the Church we respect tithing…even renaming it as “sacrificial giving”. But is it really? Let’s see…that is 90 for me and 10 for God. I would have to say, No.

True sacrifice puts everything on the line. I am thinking Easter images:

Luke. 22:20. (NLT) After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

What’s more, the exchange that occurred at the Last Supper and the Crucifixion is a poor business model. There is no guarantee of profit.

Yes…God gave his only Son so that all who look on him and believe in him may live. But we are willful and can  reject what he died to give us. In the same way a donor recipient can reject an organ.

Still if one lost  lamb returns to the fold – Jesus- both the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd deems it all worthwhile.

Sacrifice is a lifestyle.

Ephesians 5:2 (NLT) Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice, a pleasing aroma to God.

Ephesians 5:2 (NLT) Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice, a pleasing aroma to God. Click To Tweet

Think of Noah (Genesis 8:20-21) – newly rescued from the flood.  His first act was to sacrifice. He banked a fire and roasted the meat slowly.I imagine the smell lingered in the world for weeks…like Spaghetti sauce in the house after Sunday dinner.

As Christians, we too have been given new lives. Clothed in his peace and surrendered to his will, we are to walk as Christ’s representatives in this world and leave a sensory sign of his presence.

What are you wearing, the world may ask. Only when we can honestly answer “Jesus” will our sacrifice be complete.


The daughter of a Lutheran minister and a Catholic college professor, Adele-Alys faith life has always been a patchwork. Married to a Jewish man for 38 years, she delved deeply into his faith. It sharpened my picture of Jesus and popped my spiritual ears in ways I could not imagine.” You can connect Adele-Alys via Twitter (@morgantonrose), Pinterest, and  her soon to be launched blog (adelealysblog.wordpress.com). Look for a “Back to the Garden” series beginning Holy Week.

20 thoughts on “Word Nerd Wednesday – Sacrifice

  1. Hey, word-nerd, I really love this post. Right now I’m studying in Hebrews and it seems as if every word points to the amazing efficacy of Jesus’ sacrifice for us — and the beauty of His fulfillment of the Old Covenant. This was a great study to enhance what I’m already doing!

    1. I am doing a Hebrews study as well Michele.. Just three days in and love it already.

      Thanks for your kind words.

  2. Thank you, Adele-Alys. My heart bursts into song to think of Jesus’ sacrifice, extravagant and oh-so-valuable: When I survey the wondrous cross…Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. I offer my body as worship (Romans 12:1) with lips of praise (Hebrews 13:15), hoping He is pleased.

    1. I cant sing a lick (despite my name and my Italian heritage) …but I am right there with you Hope- singing to and about my Savior.

      Even had a special Easter playlist…but I sing the songs year round.

  3. Thank-you for this really great message Adele! These lines were so convicting to me; I long to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those I love and a significant contribution to the causes I believe in . Towards that end, I often exaggerate my investment of time and talent – elevating both to the level of “sacrifice.

    I too exaggerate my investment of time and talent, like they are a sacrifice, which they are not. I so appreciate looking at the true meaning of a word, and this was the first time I have really looked at “sacrifice”. I look forward to reading your blog!

    1. It’s good to know that I am not alone in my wanting to do more and trying to look as though I already am.

      And what a lesson I learned about words in doing this. Perhaps if I took time to look up the definition of words before I speak …I would say less and mean more.

  4. Liz, I’m so glad to visit Word Nerd Wednesday!

    And thank you, Adele Alys. This spoke to me today because I’ve been thinking about the word “Offering.” (Reading Leviticus 1 and 2 with the First 5 devotional app.) You’ve made my meditation richer, because I’d forgotten about the Ephesians 5:1,2 passage. he offered himself as a fragrant pleasing sacrifice. Thank you.

    1. Hi Betsy,

      Thanks. That’s the thing about Jesus. You never know in what unexpected place you are going to find him (and that applies to life and to the Bible).

      And…I agree. First 5 is fabulous.

    1. I sure hope so, Lydia! I’ve got a whole line up of wonderful writers tackling tough words ever Wednesday for the rest of the year! Don’t miss our Saturday posts, too… A little less teaching a little more story!

  5. It is the sacrificial risky lifestyle that completely described His love for us… time to spend on others to know the way to see others and to reach out and touch in grace. I love the way you made this word become clearer!
    Bless you,

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