“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Given the context, it is easy to assume that Jesus was speaking solely of His death and perhaps stretching that to include future acts of martyrdom visited upon early Christians. This skimming of the surface is as far as some are prepared to go. That is understandable since, in America, Christians aren’t being put to death.
What that thinking doesn’t take into account is that there are seemingly endless ways that a person may lay down his life for another. I’m going to bypass ideas about the all-too-standard notion of monetary sacrifice as too easy. Money can, in many situations, be recouped by the giver. It is often given in expectation of some kind of reward.
However, to lay down one’s life, in the sense that Jesus was speaking about, requires the giver to offer up something that can never be replaced or repaid—time. In our present reality, time marches in a line, and when a moment passes, it is gone. Our three score and ten is counted in seconds that cannot be reclaimed.
Parents forego sleep to sit up comforting a sick child. A child may sacrifice time off from work meant for a planned vacation, to travel to be with a dying parent. A soldier may leave his family behind to serve his country in a foreign land. Giving a valuable piece of oneself to another is the kind of love upon which Jesus was schooling His disciples.
Let me bring it closer to home. Rather than murmur about what is lacking in your church, set aside your time and do something positive to make up the hedge. See a soul in need, go to them. The Holy Spirit has pointed the need out to you for a reason. It is a call to action—you are chosen. God is waiting for a response.
Save your life or lose it. The choice must be made every day, often multiple times a day. Whether the loss is for an hour, a day, or a lifetime, love has only one answer.