There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in cavesand in holes in the ground. [Hebrews 11:35-38]
As much as we hate to admit, those words are like fingernails on a chalkboard to our ears. Those words, when played out in our lives, bring hurt, tears, and hard times.
Those words, though, are the very things greatness is made of. Greatness and change come out of sacrifice and discipline. They pay off in the end, but they’re difficult to wade through while they’re happening.
Sacrifice and Discipline are Difficult Because…
Has to be renewed daily
Everyday, we have to make a new commitment. Whether you’re saving for something big or trying to lose weight or trying to get into college, everyday you have to convince yourself that today’s sacrifice is worth tomorrow’s satisfaction.
Has hidden results
You can’t really see sacrifice and discipline while it’s being played out. Sure, sometimes you can see a little progress, but it hardly ever seems worth the pain. Discipline and sacrifice are like a seed that sprouts roots underground before it ever makes its way to the surface.
Rarely gets name recognition
Like the people that are listed at the end of Hebrews 11, sacrifice often comes without recognition. Sure, the occasional person that pays a price gets their name praised, but many never hear it uttered.
Sacrifice and disciplined are tough, no matter where you’re trying to execute it. Be encouraged though, Hebrews 11 ends with these words…
…since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. [Hebrews 11:40]