February 14, 2022

Regarding Showing Great Love

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13, ESV)

Do you remember the very first Valentine’s Day gift you received? I can remember participating in school parties where students would pass out treats to one another: cupcakes, chocolate candies, those little hearts stamped with messages such as “Be Mine” or, “I Heart You” on them. As we grow up, we might give or receive flowers, bigger, more expensive boxes of chocolates, something  special to wear or a special date night invitation. Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest gift-giving days there is, not to mention a big money-maker for companies, restaurants, flower shops, and places that specialize in baked goods.

It’s good to give to others in ways that express our love for them, but Jesus reminds us there is no greater love than someone would lay down their life for their friends. While we know he was speaking of the death he was going to die, the sacrifice he was going to make for sinners that we might enjoy forgiveness from God, and eternal life in heaven when this life is complete, but we can also receive his teaching as a way to live our earthly life in relationship with others. Not that we are expected or required to give our life in the physical sense, but in some area that we are giving of ourselves beyond the material. Sacrificial love is that love that goes beyond material gifts, or special day celebrations, but becomes impactful in a different way. Jesus’ sermon might lead us to examine whether we are those who put the welfare of others first, whether our love is in words but not deeds, whether we are willing to show our love to someone in a way that is important to or needful for them.

Here, I am reminded of the story in 2 Samuel 24, where king David wanted to purchase some land that belonged to king Araunah so he could make a sacrifice to the LORD, but the king didn’t want to sell David the land, he insisted on giving it to David at no charge. This was not acceptable to David, so David declined the king’s offer saying, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing (24:24).” Both kings agreed upon fifty shekels of silver and David was able to make his sacrifice to the Lord in good conscience.     

Material gifts, lovely dinners, expensive chocolates, jewelry, and the like might be wonderful expressions of love for others but even greater is love that requires us to sacrifice something, to lay down some part of ourselves as an offering to the one we love and care for. That kind of love is priceless. Let’s Pray,   

Lord, may I have that kind of love for others, especially those nearest and dearest to me, willing to give up part of myself, part of my rights, that part of me that only sees or can see what benefits “me” so much of the time. You gave your life for me, help me to practice sacrificial giving to others. Amen   

Reflective Questions for Self and Soul-Tending:

How are you loving others? Does your love for others ever lead you to give up some part of yourself for them, without complaint or resentment?

How will you incorporate today’s message into your plan of self and soul-care?      

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