Self-giving love: that is what love really is:
Isn’t love just a simple emotion, something that I am feeling today for someone but may not tomorrow? Is love a fleeting feeling? Yes, I loved you today, but I can’t be sure that I’ll love you forever.
Or, perhaps it is something much more.
In the Gospel of St. John, we are told that “there is no greater love than this, that one would lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. This passage should be a huge challenge to each and every one of us.
Jesus is speaking to his disciples on the night before his arrest, and then his great passion. Jesus knows what he is planning on doing for his friends, translate: for all of us. His is willingly giving his innocent life up for us, his friends, and for our salvation. WOW! I am humbled. He did not have to do this. As God, he could have said, “I am here, that is enough, they are saved.” But NO, we, as thick-headed humans, would not have gotten the message. He had to lead by example, and his example was spectacular! He literally laid down his life for us, all of us, for all time. By this action, he redeemed all of us, even those yet to be born; this is a wondrous gift for all humanity. But, it doesn’t end there; Jesus challenges us to do likewise for others.
Yes, some of us will have courageous opportunities to jump on a grenade to save our friends, and some may die saving others in great acts of bravery, perhaps from a burning building or from drowning in the ocean, BUT most of us will never get these chances. So, then what could Jesus be calling us to?
Jesus is calling each and every one of us to do just this: to be willing to give our lives for our friends, for our loved ones, for our spouses, for our children. It is really simple. We are called to live our lives giving ourselves freely and completely to others, continually.
How can we do this? We must always be ready to think of others needs over ours. Yes, this is hard for us. I wanted to go to the big football game on Saturday, but my son’s special scout project is being shown at the mall on that same day. What should I do?
It is really easy if you think about it. Die to yourself. Give up of yourself for those you love. It really should not be that hard, if you really love. In fact you might find it easy; to sacrifice yourself to one you really love. You can easily give to your child, or to your wife, but think too of others who are in that same level of need. Perhaps you can give the gift of your total self to them too. But what about those others? Those who are hungry, those who are homeless, those who are sick and dying. Would you be willing to give yourself to them too? This self-giving love is exactly what Christ is calling each and every one of us to.
What do they need? Would I be willing to give what they need to them? Would I be willing to die to save them? Tough decisions, but with Christ in your life, you have the answer. In Matthew 25, we are called to serve other as if we are serving Christ. Would we be willing to serve Christ for all what he has giving to us? This is exactly what Jesus is calling us to. We must be willing to give ourselves, totally, to serve the needs of these people. That is what he means: to give our lives for. If you see them and acknowledge them as your brethren, then God will guide you to serve them as is needed. You must make this decision, to see them as your brothers and sisters.
Therefore, loving our spouses, our children, and our neighbors is exactly what Christ is wanting of us. It will be hard, yes, but it is also, so powerful. We get back so much from giving. Jesus promises this to us. “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24 By doing so, we are truly giving our lives for our friends.