Sacrifice and Charity

True disciples of Jesus Christ must have charity and be willing to sacrifice. Elder L. Todd Budge talks about this in “Giving Holiness to the Lord.”

What Do Charity and Sacrifice Mean?

If you look up the roots of the words sacrifice and charity you get the following:

  • Sacrifice – from the Latin sacer and facere. Sacer means sacred. Facere means “to make”. If you put the two together, sacrifice means “to make sacred”.
  • Charity – from the Latin caritatem and/or carus. Caritatem means costliness, esteem, affection. Carus means dear, valued. Charity therefore is to have esteem or affection towards another whom you hold dear or you value.


Sacrifice is more about the internal. “To sacrifice is to give up something valuable or precious, often with the intent of accomplishing a greater purpose or goal.” (Gospel Topics: Sacrifice). We sacrifice when we do things in lieu of what we want to do in order to further Heavenly Father’s plan.

Sacrifice should point us to the Savior. Before His death and resurrection, this was done by animal sacrifices on an altar. Jesus himself commanded this be done away with after his resurrection. We are now to sacrifice by having a broken heart and a contrite spirit. “To have a broken heart and a contrite spirit is to be humble and receptive to the will of God and to the counsel of those He has called to lead His church.” (Gospel Topics: Sacrifice). Christ instituted the ordinance of the Sacrament to point us to Him. The Sacrament gives us time to reflect and present Him with that broken heart and that contrite spirit “that [we] do always remember him, that [we] may have His spirit to be with [us].” (Sacrament Prayer on the Water).


Charity is more about the external. It is the pure love of Christ. “It is the love that Christ has for the children of men and that the children of men should have for one another.” (Gospel Topics: Charity). The two great commandments encompass charity. How can we love our neighbor if we have not charity?

I think one of the greatest examples of charity was Christ’s interaction with the woman taken in adultery (see featured image). First, He showed charity to the accusers. How you might ask? He knew this was a trap. He knew they were trying to get Him to do something wherewith they could accuse Him and have Him put away. Instead of calling them out and trapping them, He showed charity. He said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” How was this charitable? By making them reflect on themselves He allowed them to see their own weaknesses and be moved to repentance. He could have pointed to each of them, declared their sins and punishments. But that would have only antagonized them. Instead, He gave them a way out that would show He would also not condemn them.

Second, He showed charity to the woman herself. He knew she was taken in adultery. He knew she had sinned. He could have accused her and using His own words cast the first stone at her. HE DID NOT! Instead, He asked her where her accusers were. When she replied that they left, He told her that He wouldn’t condemn her either and to “go and sin no more.” He had every right to condemn her as the Judge of Israel, but he knew her heart. He knew she would feel His love and He knew she would try to be better.

Working in Tandem

A lot of times sacrifice and charity go hand-in-hand. For instance, we recently had a family that needed help moving aging parents into their home. It was a sacrifice to take the time to help them. There were other things to be done. However, giving up those other things was to further God’s work in bringing “to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Sacrifice must also involve charity. One of the reasons I sacrificed my time to help this family is because of my love for them. I don’t know them that well, but they are still part of God’s family. A couple of weeks after helping, I ran into the brother who asked for help. As we talked, he expressed his gratitude for the help. He also expressed his trust that, if needed, he would receive help again.

Humanitarian Efforts

Elder Budge talked about the humanitarian efforts of the church. He discussed not only the monetary contributions (sacrifice) but also the “tremendous outpouring of time and energy which Church members donate to humanitarian causes” (charity).

As a father, it’s important to me to teach my children the importance of both sacrifice and charity. They know that we donate money where we can. They also know that we will donate time to help others. Sometimes they grumble about helping, but when we have finished there has never been a time where they thought helping was a waste. They understand that we are here to help where we can and that help helps us feel good about ourselves.


True disciples of Jesus Christ sacrifice and have charity. It may not always be easy, but it is ALWAYS worth it. As we develop the ability to sacrifice and increase our charity, we will draw closer to Christ and become more like Him.

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