Sacrifice should not be for gain

Vinay Raghuram

Those who sacrifice should do so because they are wiling to face loss

Three thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean, a powerful earthquake turned the industrialized nation of Japan into a pile of rubble, killing hundreds, and rendering thousands of its wealthy,  educated inhabitants homeless.

Anyone can imagine; if you were in Japan, something like that is bound to ruin your weekend.

It’s a good thing to see many people willing to donate to aid the earthquake victims. One thing, however begs investigation. Almost any donation, no matter where you look, will have some kind of prize–a show, a free shirt, or entry into a raffle thrown in. This makes it seem like, though people ultimately donate, they need to have something in the end. This is not a criticism of any events or other motivating factors, nor an attack on anyone for not donating money. It just seems to be human nature not to give anything up unless there’s some kind of personal positive return, be it physical or emotional.

That’s the kind of thing that the Christian holiday Lent is designed to avoid. Observers, who typically give up something for the duration of the 60-day period, do so to experience loss, to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for his followers at no gain to himself. Practitioners try to make the same kind of selfless sacrifice, though obviously not to the same degree.

Other people should follow this philosophy as well. Instead of going off campus to have lunch for three days a week, students could forgo a lunch outside on just one of these days, and instead donate the money to any charitable cause, Japan included. It’s true that the donors will lose out on their own enjoyment, but the loss will definitely be minimal. Those who donate in this manner can still have lunch out twice a week–which, by any standards is often–and the “sacrificed” lunch money would more than provide for supplies for Japanese refugees, underprivileged schoolchildren, or anyone else in need of a little extra help to make ends meet. In the end, everybody wins.

Ultimately, the main issue is not whether to donate to Japan or not. It isnít even about the concept of charity. Itís about the idea of selfless sacrifice, exemplified by the tradition that Jesus selflessly sacrificed his own life to redeem humanityís sins. In a similar manner, people should try to find ways to “sacrifice”–not for their own good, but for the good of others. Donation is just one example of how this can be done. We can definitely do more than just attend an event and spend money there, and justify it as “being for a good cause.” People should be prepared to lose without gain, with the knowledge that their loss is not in vain.