When the Mission Requires Sacrifice

“I do as the Father has commanded me so that the world may know that I love the Father.”
– John 14:31

After watching Interstellar last weekend, I cried a lot.

[SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, watch it before reading this post! Mom, Dad, I’m talking to you!]

I was processing many various trains of thought after the movie, but the strongest emotion that surfaced was the fear of regret.

Throughout this movie, real consequences came as a result of difficult decisions and real sacrifices were made. That’s what made it a great movie––the stakes were compelling. But the movie haunted me a bit afterwards. I kept thinking about whether it was all worth it.

So what he saved humanity? He missed his daughter’s whole life!

Meanwhile, my mom was texting me a whole bunch of photos and video clips of my step-brother’s wedding, which I was missing that very weekend.

As I flipped through them, I felt exactly like Matthew McConaughey’s character in the movie, watching his family’s life flash by via video clips. I realized that I, too, have left behind my home and those I love to do something I felt was important, something I feel made to do, something that makes me feel fully alive, but also a “mission” of sorts that is for the greater good and not just for me, a mission that requires sacrifice.

I started wondering: At the end of my life, will I look back with regret?

In that moment, feeling the weight of everything I am giving up, all the moments I am missing and will miss, I felt overwhelmed with sadness.

But then I remembered something important: I didn’t send myself on this mission, I came in response to a call.

So the real question is, Do I trust the One I followed here?

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom.

I think I understood for the first time this weekend what Jesus meant when he said you must be willing to “hate” your mother, father, brothers, etc, in order to be his disciple. If I loved my family as fully as I’d like to, I wouldn’t be living so far away. I would live nearby and be there for every single important event, happy and sad.

But Jesus asks me to love him more, to love him to the point of being willing to leave my family if necessary.

To separate myself from those I love the most is unnatural.

Spending a few years abroad would be understandable, but persisting in staying here? When I have so many people I dearly care about back at home whose major life events I am missing? That’s unnatural.

But God reminded me once again this weekend that by my life, I display His worth.

When I am willing to sacrifice things for Him that are unnatural to sacrifice, I show that He is worth more. He is not just a nice idea or a convenient concept, He is a Person that I love more than anything or anyone else.

Following Jesus––choosing to obey him––requires humility.

It requires an understanding that it’s not about me. Life is bigger than me and my desires. I guess that’s what the guy in the movie believed, too. We always hope that we can have both: save the world and be close to our loved ones. But sometimes we are forced to choose.

So is it okay to cry about the sacrifices I make?

Yes.

But at the end of my lengthy, emotional conversation with God this past weekend, this was my conclusion and confession:

“If I had a thousand lifetimes, I would give them all to You, God. You are worthy of everything I have to give.”

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Elizabeth is an American living in South Korea who believes in destiny, miracles, and living life intentionally. She holds to simple faith in a complex world, values the beauty of the everyday, and strives for vulnerability with other imperfect humans. She is always learning, laughing, and finding herself in awe of grace.

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