We see sacrifice in our everyday lives around us. Many people put themselves out to help other people in some way. We have those who are in the armed forces who have sacrificed their own life, there are people who give to the poor when their own finances may be justification for the opposite or someone stepping down to give someone who would not otherwise have the opportunity a chance. It comes in many forms and faces.
Fifteenth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley said the following:
Sacrifice is the very essence of religion; it is the keystone of happy home life, the basis of true friendship, the foundation of peaceful community living, of sound relations among people and nations.
Gordon B. Hinckley (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 565)
If we go through life and look out for no one else except for ourselves, our societies would never get anywhere.
Our lives of service and sacrifice are the most appropriate expressions of our commitment to serve the Master (Jesus Christ) and our fellowmen.
Dallin H. Oaks (Sacrifice, April 2012)
Giving service is a show of who we really are. It shows our character.
When I was in Japan during the East Japan Great Earthquake of 2011, it was hart-warming to see so many people let their true character shine though when it really mattered. I heard stories of many of my friends sacrificing much to save people from tsunami waters of damaged buildings. These people sacrificed their safety to help others. There were also many who sacrificed their lives to help others.
There are many who sacrifice a bit of their time to their whole lives to a cause. But why do people give comforts, safeties, time and even their lives up for certain causes? Everyone has their different reasons. With myself, I enjoy the feeling I get when I can even lend a hand by sacrificing a bit of time. Some people may enjoy the feeling of making a difference in the world, some enjoy the accolades that can come with high-profile service and sacrifice. Whatever the motivations for sacrificing, I feel that the most noble motive to give up something is love. This can be seen the most in the home within a family.
Perhaps the most familiar and most important examples of unselfish service and sacrifice are performed in our families. Mothers devote themselves to the bearing and nurturing of their children. Husbands give themselves to supporting their wives and children. The sacrifices involved in the eternally important service to our families are too numerous to mention and too familiar to need mention. (2012 April General Conference, Sacrifice, Sat. Morning Session - Dallin H. Oaks)
Another sacrifice that all of us can feel and partake in is the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for all of us. Elder Oaks referenced a verse of a hymn that was written by Eliza R Snow
His precious blood he freely spilt;
His life he freely gave,
A sinless sacrifice for guilt,
A dying world to save.
Eliza R. Snow "How Great The Wisdom And The Love" Hymn #125
Jesus Christ made the Ultimate Sacrifice for humankind. I don't know how it works, but I feel the effects of it everyday. Christ voluntarily took upon Himself all of the sins and pain of us all. Isaiah penned these famous words found in the Old Testament.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Christ didn't just sacrifice for those who believe on Him. He sacrificed for all, regardless of race, belief or sexual preference. We all can be healed thought the power of Jesus Christ. Christ allowed the pains of all mankind to come upon Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, He let the Romans abuse Him, He let them crucify Him but he "opened not his mouth". Many of of the world don't esteem Christ as the Saviour of the world, but He still loves them. As a missionary, I would see hundreds of people a day reject that great sacrifice for them either through indifference or direct opposition. But it is available for all of us. We can take full advantage of the redeeming power that Christ offers us by sacrificing ourselves and following Him.
I'd like to just finish with the word of the ancient prophet, Alma, from the Book of Mormon.
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me.