The word sacrifice comes from two Latin roots. The first root is sacer, which means “sacred.” This root is found in other words familiar to us, such as sacrament, which means “sacred thought,” consecrate, which means “with sacredness,” and, in its nasal form, the word sanctify.
The Latin word for priest is sacerdos, which means “sacred doer.” The Saints who speak Spanish and Portuguese will recognize the similarity to the word sacerdocio, which is their word for priesthood.
The second half of the word sacrifice comes from the Latin root facere, which means “to do” or “to make.” We recognize this same root in such words as factory, a place where things are made, and manufacture, which means to “make by hand” … We see this root form in the word benefactor, which means “good doer.”
I mention the derivation of the word sacrifice because it literally means “make sacred.” …
No longer do we think in terms of shedding blood or sacrificing animals. Rarely should we focus in terms of “giving up” time and means. Instead, we should now revert to the original meaning of the word—that we “make sacred.” For us, to sacrifice, we should “make sacred” every thought, every action, and our very character.
Nelson, Russell M. The Power Within Us. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1988.
As I read this passage, I stopped and re-read it … then I read it aloud to my husband, and my eldest daughter, and now I share it with you, my readers. Does it give you pause, as it did me?
Suddenly, the time I was sacrificing in making dinner for an invalid member of our ward took on a new meaning. This is a sacred time. Time that is, if I allow it, changing me and making me more sacred.
The sacrifices we are making to have our son out on a mission are shifted in my understanding. What I used to think of as us “giving up” our son for two years, instead becomes my son “being made sacred” as he serves. Our family is “being made sacred.”
Does this give you chills? It does for me. Suddenly every single moment in my day has become bright with opportunities for me to be “made sacred.”
This shift in perspective has given me spiritual insights as I go about doing chores sometimes done with an unwilling attitude.
Cleaning our scummy bathrooms? A sacrifice that makes our home a sacred place of peace and rest for my very busy family. Right now, my husband’s job is demanding a lot of his time and patience. He is coming home, rolling up his sleeves and jumping in to help me with our daughters; however, I can see the weariness in his eyes as he digs down to give his best to our family.
How blessed I am to be able to give back to him. It is a small thing to have freshly laundered towels laid out and a clean mirror, shower, and toilet … yet it gives him a space in his life that is not demanding anything of him. He can wake up in the morning and start his day with a bit more restfulness because of the sacrifice I made in cleaning the bathrooms.
A chore that I normally hate to do and view as a SACRIFICE, in the “Look-at-me-and-how-much-I-do-for-my-family” begrudging perspective the word often conjures, instead became an opportunity for me to make my home sacred.
By shifting my perspective to view cleaning bathrooms in this way, the time I spent cleaning also became sacred—a time that brought me closer to my Heavenly Father in my thoughts. I found myself thinking, not of myself and how much I hate cleaning toilets, but of each member of my family and the trials they are currently going through.
As I cleaned and thought about their struggles, thoughts came into my mind of ways that I could help them. I received inspiration while scrubbing scummy toilets.
All because I viewed this sacrifice in the way all sacrifices ought to be viewed.
“For us, to sacrifice, we should “make sacred” every thought, every action, and our very character.”
About Emlee Taylor
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.