The Substance of Faith

The Substance of Faith

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Quotes on Sacrifice – Part Two

From my files, here are more quotations on sacrifice:

Robert K. Greenleaf writes these things in his classic book Servant Leadership:

Let us briefly consider the four dimensions of moral authority, the core of servant leadership.  (1)  The essence of moral authority or conscience is sacrifice—the subordinating of one’s self or one’s ego to a higher purpose, cause, or principle.  — p. 6

I define moral authority as Our Moral Nature + Principles + Sacrifice.  Many of us know we ought to behave in a certain way, but sacrifice enables us actually to behave in those ways that are in alignment with universal principles.  Therefore, sacrifice is the essence of moral authority, and humility is the foundational attribute of sacrifice.  — p. 11

And from David Livingston:

For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office.  People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay?  Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us.

I never made a sacrifice.

– African missionary David Livingstone, at Cambridge University, December 4, 1857.




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Quotes on Sacrifice – Part One

This coming Sunday we will worship around the theme of sacrifice. The meditation text will be printed in the order of worship and is already online, down the main page to the right.

The internet searches I performed on “sacrifice” produced dull and repetitive results.   So here are some insights on the concept of sacrifice from my quotation library

1.   Sacrifice of self is a feature of all rich and purposeful life. The moment a person cares intensely for ideals he has started on a way of life that makes great demands and yet it is also a way of great joy. Nobody who knows would ever prefer the way of ease and quick reward.

–Rufus Jones from The World Within – p.86

crown of thorns

2.  The religion that costs nothing, that demands no hard sacrifices of other things, that does not lift the life out of low-level motives, is worth little and makes little difference to the life.  The type of religion on the other hand, which costs the all, which makes the cross the central fact that dominates the life as its one driving power, becomes an incalculable force and turns many to salvation.

— Rufus Jones, from The World Within — p. 43

 3.  Quoting F. von Hugel:  The mystery revealed, in a unique degree and form, in Christ’s life, is really a universal spiritual-human law; the law of suffering and sacrifice, as the one way to joy and possession, which has existed, though veiled till now, since the foundation of the world.

–Evelyn Underhill from The School or Charity — p. 51

 Love, after all, makes the whole difference between an execution and a martyrdom.

–Underhill — p. 55

The Church names the sixth Deadly Sin as Sloth.  It is the sin which believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, loves nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and only remains alive because there is nothing it would die for.

–Dorothy Sayers from Creed or Chaos? —  p. 108


“The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires.”

― from Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard


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