According to the dictionary, “to give” means “to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation”, or “to place in someone’s care” or “to transfer possession to another”.
John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down (or in some translations “give up”) his life for his friends.”
I’ve heard many sermons preached on this verse. And I’ve done Bible studies on it as well. I’ve tried to think about how I can give sacrificially, what that would look like in my daily life. What would it look like financially? What would it look like physically? What would it feel like spiritually? How do we give up our life? Is it only when we would physically die that we could give this way? Or would giving up our time, our days, also be giving up our life for someone?
But until recently I don’t think I’ve ever thought about what it would be like to receive this kind of sacrificial love from another person. What do you say when someone loves you with the kind of love that they give up their life, their time, for you?
What do you say to someone who gives up their two months off in the summer to come home and take care of you? Someone who will give up their free time to relax with friends and vacation at the beach so that they can cook your meals, clean your house and wash your clothes.
What do you say to someone who gives up the chance of a lifetime to travel to the Amazon so they can organize blood drives and help you understand medical terms and conditions? Someone who gives up sleeping in a soft bed to spend long nights at the hospital in isolation gowns and latex gloves caring for wounds and changing bed linens.
What do you say to someone who drives 700 miles each week to come home and sit with you, help you sort out correspondence and talk over how to handle so many issues? Someone who gives up a semester of their education to continue coming home, just so you won’t have to spend so many nights alone in a huge empty house.
Of course you say “Thank You”, but that doesn’t begin to tell of how grateful you are for their sacrifice. Because while a parent brings children into this world, knowing and ready to sacrifice anything for them, you never want your children to have to make sacrifices for you. You only want their world to be full of good times and happy endings. You don’t want them to know hurt and sacrifice. And yet, I’m now thankful that they do know these things because to know these things is to better understand the sacrifice God has made for us. And that sacrifice comes out of love. His love for us. And our love for Him and each other.
We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19