Wise Sacrifices

“It is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” Matthew 18:8

This life is so full of peril that even its best things may become stumbling-blocks. Our very qualities of strength may become fatal forces driving us to ruin. Human beauty is a memento of unfallen life, and yet beauty has proved a snare to many a woman, drawing her away from God. Power to make money is a perilous gift, which has led many a man to spiritual ruin. It is better to throw away altogether the money-making power and go poor through life with the talent wasted and shrivelled, and reach heaven, than to exercise the gift and grow rich, and be lost forever. These are illustrations of our Lord’s meaning when He speaks of cutting off the hand or the foot which causes us to stumble.

The appetites, desires, and affections are part of the glory of humanity, and yet unbridled they have whirled many a noble life to destruction. A steam vessel came into port which had long been out on the sea. An accident had happened which caused delay. The coal gave out; then all that would burn — cargo, stores, furniture — had to be burned up to bring the vessel home. At last she gained the shore, but stripped of everything of value. Yet it was better to burn up all her cargo and stores than perish at sea.

Some men can get to heaven only by sacrificing every earthly pleasure and crucifying every desire; but who will say the prize is not worth the sacrifice? The hand had better be chopped off than steal or strike down another. The foot had better be cut off than carry one into crime or sin. The eye had better be put out than by its lustful gazing set the soul on fire. A man on a wrecked vessel had better throw his bags of gold into the sea and have his life saved, than hold on to the gold and sink into the waves.