The letters stop me cold every time. Each month we receive another poignant prayer letter from missionary friends who serve in an African country where disease, especially AIDS, is killing people by the thousands. When these friends tell us about the ongoing tragedy, they are talking about people they know and love.

Our friends don’t complain about the danger they are in or their struggle to raise a family amid hardship. Instead, they remind us of the souls of these people, some of whom literally die in their arms.

Their letters make me consider Christ’s suffering and our need to be willing to sacrifice for Him. How often we worry about the wrong things! How extravagantly many of us live! How difficult it is for us to deny ourselves for the sake of others!

The writer of Hebrews pointed to Moses as an example of self-denial. Moses chose to identify with God and His chosen people, though he could have enjoyed the “passing pleasures of sin” and “the treasures in Egypt” (11:25-26).

Our lives should be taken up with serving the Lord—no matter what the cost. We may have to make a costly sacrifice if people are to meet Jesus. What are we willing to give up for those who need to know Him?