Category Archives: Examples of Sacrifice

Give Up Everything?

In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all. In this way we choose to send off other people to carry out the global purpose of Christianity while the rest of us sit back because we’re “just not called to that.”  —  David Platt, Radical

In the midst of writing a much larger post about Christianity and wealth, I ran across this quote. I’ve written about our idea of “calling” before, but I think Platt provides an excellent reminder for us. Many of the functions, attitudes, and sacrifices that God calls us to as Christians, we tend to give to a select few.

The heart of the Christian life is sacrifice. Romans 12:1 speaks of being a “living sacrifice”.

What comes to mind when you hear those words?

The challenge for me lies in not taking those words too lightly. It’s easy for me to write some things that I do off as a “sacrifice”, but I wonder if we really want to know what God means when he says “living sacrifice”.

In Luke 18, Jesus challenges a rich young man to sell everything. Luke 9, we find Jesus calling those who follow him to deny themselves and take up their cross. These are not easy words. They aren’t words we should take lightly.

Our tendency is to take Jesus’ commandments and make them into philosophical mumbo-jumbo.

Jesus just wants me to have a giving heart.
We shouldn’t love things.
I should care about people.

While statements like these are true, they are sufficiently vague as to encompass almost any way of living.

The reality is if we have a loving heart it will burst forth in action. If we don’t care about things, we will find ourselves compelled to live with and love less and less of our things as we become more satisfied in Him. If we truly care about people, our lives will begin to revolve around His work on this earth, rather than building our own kingdom.

Christianity is going all-in.

What does being a “living sacrifice” mean to you?

How do you tangibly “take up your cross”?

 

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Filed under christian, Examples of Sacrifice, quotes, Scripture, selflessness, Serving Others

Do Not Mess With the Elderly!

On the lighter side of Becoming Last…

This video is making its way around the internet. You’ll see a gang of thieves attempting to smash and grab some jewelry. She comes flying in out of nowhere and starts wailing on them with her purse. Seeing they are no match for her, they promptly flee.

Out of curiosity…

Have any of you ever seen a crime being committed? What did you do?

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, In the News

Hero of the Day

Let’s be honest. Professional sports has its share of problems. For the most part, the athletes are young, rich, and human. That is a lethal mix.

We rarely go a week without reading or hearing of some star’s extramarital affair, dui, or drug charge. However, there is a brighter side to that world. Athletes spend a great deal of time doing charity work. Some may argue for it’s for PR, but my question to those folks is, “what are you doing?”

Well, here’s a story that I think is pretty fantastic. The Toronto Star published an article on Sunday about an NBA player going out of his way to help a complete stranger.

Last week, Lucita Charles, a single mother of a 7-year-old son with cerebral palsy, was murdered. Enter Jamaal Magloire. He heard the story and his heart went out to the boy. Knowing he had the means to help, Jamaal paid for the funeral and is in the process of setting up a trust fund to provide for the boy’s welfare.

Money can never soothe the pain the little boy feels over the loss of his mother, but it must provide some relief to know someone is taking care of you.

It’s great to hear a story like that come out. The guy wasn’t doing it for publicity. He apparently was upset people even found out. You got to give the guy all the credit in the world for taking the necessary steps to help the young boy out.

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, Heroes, In the News, making a difference, Uncategorized

Stories

People love stories. We get lost in them. We live through them. They inspire us. They give us hope. Stories provoke us to think and to dream.

I want to begin telling more stories of everyday people who contribute to our communities through serving and loving others.

Maybe you don’t feel like your story is extraordinary…it doesn’t have to be.
Perhaps you don’t want to get the credit…that’s o.k. I’ll share it anonymously.
Still don’t want to get the credit? Share someone else’s story!
Don’t know a story personally, but have a link? Share it!

Either leave me a note in the comments or shoot me an email if you have a story I can use. I’ll ask you a few questions and we can post it to encourage others in their efforts to serve.

I love politics. I’m a news junkie. But I get so tired of seeing the same, depressing stuff on the news. Don’t get me wrong. That’s reality. But it’s only have the story…

There are people who put their lives on the line everyday for others. Ordinary people who sacrifice their time, money, and energy to love people unconditionally. Those stories deserve to be heard.

Got a story? Please share it!

Also, if you know anything about website design and would like to help me with a new project, shoot me an email!

becominglast@hotmail.com

How can you Become Last today?

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, General Update, making a difference

An Everyday Hero

Last night, my mom brought some Parker’s barbecue over to share with my family. While eating generous helpings of cornsticks, hushpuppies, fried chicken, potatoes, and barbecue I discovered something: mom is an everyday hero. An everyday hero is someone who gives their time, talents, and treasures to others without seeking the publicity.

For several years now, my mom has been visiting her mother in a retirement home. She would sit with her, play music for her, listen to the stories my grandmother loved to tell, and of course, bring her good food (Parker’s). My grandmother has since passed away, but my mom still makes the hour and a half long drive to visit.

It seems that her visits had not only brightened her mom’s week, but many of the other residents as well. Unlike her son, my mom is an extremely talented pianist. She inherited that from her mother. She’s played in churches, in schools, and in plays. Now, she plays to an enthralled audience who quickly gathers, knowing that her arrival means a sing-a-long is on the horizon.

Listening to my mom share fascinated me. She cared about these people. She doesn’t just go play her favorite songs. She listens to their stories and she’ll find sheet music to learn the songs the residents love. Most of them request 1920’s songs mixed in with songs such as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” or “How Much is That Doggy in the Window.”

As they listen and sing  along, the residents are taken back to another time and another place. I can only imagine the wellspring of memories the songs must provoke. First cars, first loves, war, peace, the Great Depression, children, and grandchildren. For the few hours they listen to the piano sing, they are young again.

It would be easy to forget about them. With the passing of my grandmother, my mom could have stopped the music. But she knows how much it means to them. She sees the sparkle in their eyes as she looks around the room. These are the people who paved the way for us and she honors them with her time and music. I’m glad their are people like my mom who show them they aren’t forgotten, that they still matter. She’ll never be featured on CNN or given an award for what she does, but I know there is a roomful of seniors counting down the days until her sweet songs fill the room again.

Do you know an everyday hero? I’d love to share their story! Just email me: becominglast@hotmail.com

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, making a difference, Serving Others, Uncategorized, volunteer

Making Music

I thought I’d start the week off with a little inspiration. Enter Andy Mackie. At 71 years young, he’s chosen to spend the remainder of his life inspiring kids with music. CBS News recently did a story on him. Here are the highlights:

After his ninth heart surgery, Mackie’s doctors had him on 15 different medicines. But the side effects made his life miserable. So one day he quit taking all 15 and decided to spend his final days doing something he always wanted to do. He used the money he would have spent on prescriptions to give away 300 harmonicas, with lessons. When he didn’t die the next month, he bought a few hundred more.

Forget a wickedly awesome vacation. Nope. Just spending the remaining days of his life giving away hope in the form of harmonicas and music lessons. For all he knew, he might have lived a few more weeks, but…

It is now 11 years and 16,000 harmonicas later.

To keep the kids interested in music as they get older, Mackie now spends the bulk of his social security check making what he calls “strumsticks.” He’s given away thousands of these, too. He also buys store made instruments for the kids that show special interest and provides free lessons to everyone by getting the older kids to teach the younger ones.

What a selfless man. It’s people like him that humble me completely. The fact that he even thought of doing what he did is amazing, let alone actually doing it! I hope his story encourages you as it did me.

Got a story of someone putting themselves last? Think it would make a great “in the news” post? Leave a comment or email me at becominglast@hotmail.com.

Andy gave up his medicines. What can you give up to use the money for someone else?


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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, In the News, making a difference, purpose, selflessness, Serving Others, Uncategorized

Kudos to Mack Brown

Mack Brown may not have won the National Championship, but you’ve got to give it to him. The man loves his wife and wants to make sure she and everyone knows it.  Read this short little article Rick Reilly wrote for ESPN. What a great way to serve his wife by going to great lengths to avoid even the appearance of anything sketchy!

If you’re in Pasadena right now and want to take a picture with Texas football coach Mack Brown, you might find it a peculiar experience.

Brown has some very specific rules for taking pictures with fans. He knows that today’s sports celebrities live in an age when one misunderstood iPhone snap can suddenly have you back managing an Applebee’s. So if you want a shot with Brown, who tries for his second national title Thursday night in the BCS Championship Game, you’ve got to follow his three rules:

1) He never takes a picture with a female without a “Hook ‘em Horns” sign up. That way everybody knows where his hands are and what they’re doing.

2) If he’s with his wife, Miss Sally — and he usually is — she takes the pictures. Nobody else. That way nobody can come up behind him and make him look stupid, or salacious, or drunk. Nobody can pretend their hand is his and put it somewhere that isn’t Vatican-approved. Nobody can flip anybody off, nobody can set him up. Miss Sally won’t cotton to that kind of behavior. “Sally knows her way around every camera, cell phone, video camera, you name it,” says Brown, 58. “If it’s out there, she knows how to work it.” (Wish there were somebody like that at Best Buy.)

3) He never takes a picture with only one female. “Always two or more,” he says. “It just looks better.”

via Rick Reilly’s Go Fish – ESPN The Magazine.

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, In the News, selflessness

Church is Not a Book Club

The blogosphere is full of Atheist v. Christian “battle to the rhetorical death” blogs. This is not one of them. While a healthy dialogue can be beneficial, a quick read of many of those blogs reveals neither dialogue nor health. Becoming Last is about serving and loving others, but it stems from my faith.

I am a Christian. I love my God, even though my life may not reflect that at times (for example, the homeless guy I saw yesterday…he was pacing between cars…I had change, not much…but all I kept thinking was, “I hope he doesn’t hurt anyone”. Which is kind of absurd b/c I’m in the middle of a huge traffic jam. Plus, if I’m that concerned with others’ safety why don’t I just call him over to my car, give him change, and love him until the light turns green. Instead, I did the whole awkward “I’m just looking at the light” stare). I completely judged the guy. I tried not to. I didn’t want to judge him, but yeah, I didn’t exactly show him the love of God.

I work for a church part-time and I often struggle with how to best share God’s love with the community. My heart is to demonstrate God’s love and not to win philosophical arguments. I’m a fairly smart guy, but there are millions upon millions of people smarter. I feel like I can make a good argument, but there are millions more who can better debate. Plus, many of the times we can “win” an argument and yet lose the person (lose in the sense that they could care less about what we have to say anymore).

When people hear the name of your church what pops in their mind? What is your church known for in your community?

Here are what some people say their churches are known for:

  • “Being really good people” – I relate this idea to a bug zapper. It’s like we have the impression that our “goodness” will mesmerize people into coming and “ZAP!” we’ll get them. The main issue with this is it tends to be a very passive idea of church. Let’s just meet and work on our holiness and if they come, they come.
  • “Bible-believing/teaching” – Excellent idea. We should be squarely in line with and teaching the Bible.  But, we can sway so far into this idea that we neglect ever working out anything we learn. It’s as if we become spiritually obese. We learn a lot of information, but don’t put it into practice. Sometimes we can have great churches with great people learning great things, but our communities will wonder what’s the point if we never extend the teaching into our lives. We need to be more than a book club.
  • “Awesome worship/dynamic teaching” - As with the other two, this is not bad in itself. But, if our services resemble nothing more than a U2 concert, yet we leave unchanged week after week, people will eventually get wise and just go see U2. Most of will never be that dynamic and our musicians are not all that good, but if people see a genuine, caring, serving community then they will stay.

Here is my desire. I would love for the church to be known through the community as a sacrificial, genuine, caring community of Christians. I’d like for conversations to take place such as:

“Have you ever heard of The Bridge? They took care of my aunt after her surgery.”‘
“I see the Wilsons’ got their deck fixed. Where did they get the money for that?” “The Bridge took care of it.”

The conversations could take any number of forms. The point is: Will we be known for lofty rhetoric and  altruistic platitudes or will we be known for loving people with abandon? Will we lay down our lives and forsake our rights to comfort, safety, time, and possessions? Will we believe in a Jesus who gave His life for us and yet lives lives that look nothing like His? Do we really like Jesus or does our faith motivate us to live like Jesus?

I know. Christianity is not just about serving. It’s not just a service club. We serve because we believe in the grace and mercy of God. We serve because God first served us. We serve because we believe there is more to live for than ourselves. Serving others and laying down our lives for the world is an extension of our beliefs. Certainly, our beliefs are our foundation, but I wonder how most of us can confess to believe such a radical, crazy story of God coming to Earth and yet go on living as if it’s not important enough to interrupt our lives to spread that message.

People need to hear the Gospel. People need to hear the story of God’s love. But we, the church, need to demonstrate that love on a daily basis. Church is meant to be a beacon of light to the nations. Church is meant to be a giant, flashing neon light that says, “God loves you!” We should make it impossible for someone to be in our community and never encountered the love of God.

So what do you think? How could our churches better demonstrate God’s love? How could you begin to prioritize your life to where you can intentionally start serving others on a weekly basis and be open to seeing opportunities at all times? How can you Become Last so He can Become First?

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Filed under Challenges, christian, Examples of Sacrifice, making a difference, Making God Known, purpose, Realizations, Uncategorized

More to Life

Nikki and Frankel and Mother Theresa's Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Nikki and Frankel and Mother Theresa's Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Becoming Last welcomes Nikki!

Last week I got an email from a fellow blogger, Matt, asking me to guest blog on his own blog, Becoming Last. Also eager to communicate with other like-minded bloggers, and to share my experiences, of course I agreed. Maybe I should start this guest post by introducing myself… My name is Nikki Cochrane, and I am a 20 year old student in my last year of the cultural anthropology program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. My passion in life is one thing, and it seems to consume my every thought; humanitarian work. Throughout most of teenage and adult life I have volunteered and sponsored children, but I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life the summer after my grade 12 year when I first went to the Dominican Republic. I went with an organization called Hero Holiday (www.heroholiday.com); working in and around Sosua… building schools, helping in an orphanage for handicapped children, and learning just a little bit about the Dominican and Haitian people with whom I was working. When I got home, I cried for a week. I couldn’t get the kids’ faces out of my head, and every time I opened my fridge and saw food (some that wouldn’t even be eaten), I was overcome with a sense of guilt. I knew I had to do more. The following summer I returned to the DR again with Hero Holiday, this time for a month. Every day of the month brought moments and experiences that even further changed me and my perceptions on life. The following February sent me to Ethiopia, Africa. I worked in an orphanage for HIV+ children, was able to meet my World Vision sponsor child, Tsehay, and taught English classes to children who were very eager to learn. I ate injera and dora wat for the first time and learned how to maneuver through a bustling African market. This past summer, I spent two months in the Dominican Republic again; the place I call my second home! I was able to spend a few days in its neighboring country as well, Haiti, working mostly in a hospital for children, most of whom are dying or very sick from malnutrition. The first time I walked into the hospital I was so overcome with emotion that I had to step back out, after seeing a 6 year old, Frankel, so skinny and lethargic he could barely lift his head. I was shocked when I heard him speak, for he was so tiny he looked like he would be too young even to know how to talk. I later learned he was 6 years old… I hugged him very tightly after that and hoped he could feel my love.

I am not sure exactly what the future is going to bring for me, but I know there are going to be big changes in my life. I will be heading back to the DR for 2 weeks over Christmas, and then moving there in May when I am done University. My life has been changed in so many ways because of this work, but it is not without its struggles. There are some parts of my life where I have to make sacrifices, and although it is all worth it, it is difficult at times. Money is one of those sacrifices, and it leads me to pinching every penny just to afford to live when I am in the DR. I have drifted apart from some friends, who don’t understand the way I feel about life now. It has even caused some conflicts with my family members, who are hesitant about seeing me leave. But when I look at the big picture, I couldn’t be happier. I know that with every sacrifice I make, there is a bigger purpose behind it. Something much bigger than just me, and my own little Canadian bubble. There is much more to the world than many people think, and I believe it is up to each of us to do our part in making the lives of those struggling a little easier… a little happier.

If you want to read more about my work, you can check out my blog at www.heroholiday07.blogspot.com I also have a fundraising blog, www.madebynikki.blogspot.com where I design blogspot blogs to raise money for my travel and living expenses.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post! I hope that it will inspire you to think twice the next time you spend $10 at McDonalds, or your toonie on a coffee. There are so many needs in the world; children that need to be fed, that need to go to school, that need uniforms, clothes, shoes, clean water, education… YOU can make a difference, even if it is in just ONE child’s life. I will finish by leaving you with my favorite story. It has inspired me and is something that I find myself reading during the times when I feel unsure…

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “I made a difference to that one!”

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, General Update, Uncategorized, Websites

Turning Lemons into Lives

I found a cool story in the Vitamin Angels newsletter this month. I love hearing about kids Becoming Last. Here’s the story:

Lemonade for Vitamin Angels

What’s better than lemonade on a hot summer day? Lemonade for a great cause!

8 year old Declan set up a lemonade stand to help teach others about our important work and raised $50! Remember, all it takes is 25 cents to provide one child with vitamin A for a whole year. So in one afternoon, this one child was able to impact the lives of 200 children, and refresh many passersby at the same time! Inspired yet? Get Involved!

What a great example for kids who want to help! Simple, small, yet significant. He helped 200 kids. Awesome! Don’t forget to click our “Help Now” button on the right of the page and have a great Saturday!

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, Making God Known, Uncategorized, vitamin angels