For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
I recently read a challenge involving John 3:16.The author I was reading, suggested substituting your own name in place of God and then consider what you would be willing to sacrifice in order to truly love others.
It’s been said that real love is doing something for someone that can do nothing for you in return.
Sacrifice. Forgo. Yield. Lose.
I thought to myself, I like a challenge. I’ll take this challenge! I began a list that I planned to add to each day.
It looked like this:
For Lisa so loved…
1. blah, blah, blah…that she gave…blah, blah, blah.
2. blah, blah, blah…that she gave…blah, blah, blah.
After my 2nd entry, I felt a little sick. Was I really going to list each sacrificial thing I did each day. Oh boy, this sounded like a recipe for a prideful disaster.
The Holy Spirit intervened and brought to my attention the verses in Matthew 6 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Upon further, intervention from the Holy Spirit, my eyes were opened to the sacrificial love of others all around me.
I decided to create a different list.
For my husband so loves his family that he gives up his comfort and sleep and wakes up very early each morning to go to work.
For my friend so loves her children so much that she gives up her chance to only have two kids at home and instead has all three kids at home while she homeschools her school-aged son.
For our Pastor so loves the church that he gives his Saturday to prepare teaching and encouragement for us.
For my daughter so loves our neighbor with cancer whom she’s never met so much that she makes and delivers a homemade pie to him.
For my mom so loves to serve that she gives up her free time to help our church create much needed flyers.
For my friends so love the people of Haiti so much that they give up vacation time to go serve the Haitians in a vision clinic.
“Love is not lip service—it is the motivation to give of yourself. When it really comes down to it, true love always involves giving to others.” Shelene Bryan, Love, Skip, Jump: Start Living the Adventure of Yes.
Each of the above examples involves sacrifice, service, and loving others. Each of the above examples involve behind the scenes or “secret” giving as Jesus called it. But, each of the examples will be rewarded by our Father who sees in secret.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25)”
Isn’t that our true reward? Giving up our life, losing our life, so that we can find the life that Christ sacrificed for us to have.
Instead of sitting back and looking at my prideful list of sacrifices, I will meditate on this:
For Lisa so loved the world that she lost her life for Christ’s sake so she could receive the life Jesus longs for her to have.
Thank you, Jesus. Your ultimate, beautiful sacrifice gives me abundant life everlasting.