First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jesus Sacrificed for Us, I Sacrifice for My Cat

Momma-Kitty showed up one day and never left. I had told my family, no more pets! Betsy and I decided that we wanted to travel when the kids were grown and moving on in their lives. So we decided that pets and traveling didn’t go together, and so we told our children that they were not to bring any more pets into our home. And that was that.

Then, Momma-Kitty showed up and refused to leave. She appeared on the back porch and nothing I did convinced her to go find some other family to mooch off of. I chased her away a few times, she just came back. Betsy took pity and started to feed her, but we decided that she would stay outside. Then she started getting all friendly and cuddly and I started to pet her and that was it. Momma-Kitty became my cat. She moved into the house and our carefully crafted policy against pets went out the window. I suppose Betsy and I will be able to work around the pet issue and travel anyway. But, taking care of pets is a sacrifice. Instead of seeing our burdens slowly disappear as we get older, a pet adds to them. On the other hand, when I am sitting next to a cute little kitty and she is purring as I pet her, I guess it is worth it.

My life is not just about me. Do I really have to say this? As I go through life I know far too many people who need to be convinced that they are not the center of the universe. Several of my close friends have recently walked away from their twenty-plus years of marriage. Their spouses want to keep trying to make the marriage work. Doesn’t matter, time to move on. I guess that I am a bit thick headed, but I just don’t understand being in love one day and not in love the next. This lack of understanding comes from my twenty-six happy years of marriage to Betsy. We are both very happy and looking forward to a wonderful and blessed future together. I have thought about our relationship many times and have come up with one thing that separates us from others. We are both willing to sacrifice for the sake of our loved one.

Now I’m sure that my divorcing friends would throw themselves in front of a speeding train to save their soon to be ex-spouses. But that is not what I am talking about. Betsy and I are willing to give a little every day to make sure that our life long partner is content. Betsy and I live a life of sacrifice every day, not just once in a while. We do this for each other, for our children, for our extended family, for our friends, and even for our pets. And this is the one thing that separates us from people who have problems in their relationships. Everyone can love, everyone can communicate, everyone can be passionate, but not everyone sacrifices. I would say we who sacrifice are in the minority. And yet, in sacrifice we find happiness.

Jesus sacrificed himself for us. We Christians passionately believe that through Jesus’ sacrifice the Doors to Heaven were opened for us. We also believe that Jesus’ sacrifice is the ultimate sign of God’s love. God cares for everyone, and so caring for others originates from the source of all things. And, the most powerful way a person can communicate caring and love for another is to give, to sacrifice. Once again God is the example of this by way of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We already know this! We know this because our parents sacrificed for us when we were small. We know this because many people throughout our lives have sacrificed to help us. We know this because Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. We know this, but it seems to sink in very slowly.

Momma-Kitty wants me to feed her. Momma-Kitty wants me to pet her. Momma-Kitty wants to be left alone, and I have a scratch on my hand to prove it. Momma-Kitty gets what Momma-Kitty wants. But I get something out of the arrangement as well. I get to give my heart to a cute little cuddly kitty cat.

Happy Easter,

Pastor Bill

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