We hear that word a great deal, and it always seems so dramatic.
But what if we take it back in time? A sacrifice was something offered to the gods, surely, but it was a little subtler than that. In order to sacrifice you had to have more than enough; if you sacrificed a lamb it was because you could afford to spare one. So you offered it, in the hope that more good things would come your way and the deity would smile on you.
It wasn’t like a lottery ticket, where a small outlay promised a huge return. That’s simply a gamble.
A sacrifice is persuasive because one is in fact saying something like this: I work hard, I have spare wealth. I will now donate some of it because I know that I am going to continue to work hard -- and I can keep donating if I get your blessings.
And so it looks like a pledge to the gods, or even a bribe -- but behind it lies a promise to oneself, to keep on trying.