We look for heroes although those who traditionally have held those roles are fading away. Sports figures have been replaced by those who start non-profit organizations. But is philanthropy that heroic?
To me there is a difference between giving and sacrificing. Maybe I'm splitting hairs. I tend to think that giving is something we all do on a regular basis. We give of our time, money, and emotions to those we care about. We give our talents and skills to our jobs. But that giving is not typically "a sacrifice."
When someone makes a sacrifice, there is a cost involved. It may be losing something precious to them, whether great or small. It may be that the sacrifice is one of time and the person giving up that time realizes the time cannot be invested in other activities. Many parents sacrificed their time at home by working hard a job they didn't really like because by doing so, their families were financially supported. Those who did so without complaint showed true heroic quality, in my opinion.
However, the ultimate sacrifice is when someone lays down their life for another. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) This is the sacrifice seen in soldiers - and the awe one feels as they witness another human being valuing someone else's life as more important than their own. And the greatest of all of those types of sacrifices is seen in Jesus Christ, as He laid down His life for us. Jesus served, did not demand elevation or condescend from his vastly superior position. He gave to the world what He had, which was an endless supply of love and mercy from His Father. He came to show us what we were created to be.
I think self-sacrifice is so admirable because it proves to us that the internal veering toward self can be overcome. Self-sacrifice irritates some people. My hunch is because they don't want to think about denying themselves anything. We live in a hedonistic world that celebrates self-indulgence at every level. "If it feels good, do it!" was the mantra of the sixties and seventies. Consequences of that indulgence were rarely examined and if so, was identified as repressive shame.
Which brings me to leftist ideology. (You knew I was going there...) The leftists are schizophrenically-minded. Look at the following contradictory beliefs:
The beliefs on the left were from the sixties. Forty years later, those same people, holding onto the same ideology, are now either limiting those beliefs or counter-acting them altogether.
Self-glorification has always been the hallmark of leftist ideology. But it is countered with a belief that "the greater good" is more valuable than the individual. This type of crazy is something I can't wrap my mind around. If you elevate self, then it would stand to reason that "self" is elevated above the common good. But as you know, reason isn't a strong point with leftists. Could it be that they are seeking the solution that only faith in God can bring? Except they're trying to do it without God.
So they run around, kidding themselves that giving money to those who should be earning it themselves is "noble" and "admirable" while criticizing independent thought and self-reliance because it doesn't accomplish their agenda of "Government Is God." Sacrifice is an unknown and unwanted concept for them. Those who willingly lay down their lives for the greater good (you'd think they'd be into that...), such as our brave men and women in the military, are mocked. Suddenly, those who do this are "deluded" by the government (when Bush was in office, natch), are jingoists who can't see the imperialistic sins of their nation, or just plain stupid rednecks who can't read or write.
But yet for all of the leftist's belly-aching, the fact remains that overall, people admire those who sacrifice themselves for a higher purpose. It's just that they can't seem to stomach that the higher purpose, is a love for God and country.