I just recently watched a phenomenal movie named Lorenzo’s Oil. It’s amazing; really. Lorenzo’s Oil came out in the early 90’s starring Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon. It’s about a boy who develops a disease so rare(Adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD) that it’s virtually unheard of, and no one’s working on a cure. A diagnosis of ALD was a death sentence. His father and mother, unwilling to except this hopeless prognosis decided to learn all about the disease in order to find a cure, not only for there son, but for other boys who would develop this disease. It’s heart breaking to watch Lorenzo’s pain as well as the pain of his parents, but at the same time I was encouraged by Lorenzo’s parents relentless pursuit of a cure for their son. It was a painful reminder of how the church sometimes neglects to unify around families who are experiencing debilitating diseases, or life altering disabilities. It was also a reminder of just how big a role sacrifice plays in unifying our various communities.
It seems like whenever we talk about creating unity amongst ourselves, that we neglect to talk about how essential sacrifice is to creating that unity. Unity and sacrifice go hand in hand. Our limited understanding of what sacrifice is has hindered our unity. True sacrifice isn’t just giving up something or someone you love, but a sacrifice is a literal dying to self…laying down your own interest; giving up something or someone you love, on behalf of someone else. Someone who may never appreciate it, or deserve it. Sacrifice is knowing that the fruit of such sacrifices…true unity and community may not be seen on this side of heaven. Sacrifice, requires hope and endurance; all while keeping the greater good in mind. Hebrews 11:36-40
In order to have and nurture unity, within our communities, great sacrifices will be required…cost must be counted. Lorenzo, along with his parents realize the cost of the sacrifices that they must make, and this empowers them to endure through the pain for the greater good. We have a greater power than our will. We have the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that will empower us to make costly sacrifices, which will ultimately lead us to unity, and greater intimacy with each other and God.
Jesus made a great sacrifice when He died on the cross. We so easily forget that we are called to make sacrifices as well, for the sake of those hurting in our midst…for the sake of unity. Once we set our own desires aside, like Jesus we will truly be able to make life giving sacrifices; realizing that a life lived with out sacrifice is lived in opposition to the Gospel.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:4-8