Readings: John 10: 11-18 and 1st John 3: 16-24
1st John 3:16 – “Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers”.
Both of these passages by John are about love. It is a giving and self-denying love. It is a love that does not count the cost. It is a love only concerned with helping or improving or bettering the life of another. It is the love modeled by Jesus and the love that His followers are called to emulate. This love is spelled out in our verse for today: “Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers”.
The next verse in 1st John calls us to account. Verse seventeen says that if we have possessions and see someone in need yet have no pity on then, then how can the love of God be in us? We are all people of abundance. Our abundance may not lie in material things. Our abundance may be in our time or in a gift or talent that we have been blessed with. No matter our abundance, the call is to actually love the one in need by giving up some if our plenty so that the other can have some. When we choose to live our lives this way, then we can “get our heart at rest in His presence”. This is the place we should strive to be.
In John 10 Jesus speaks of this sacrificial love. He States, “this is the reason my father loves me – that I lay down my life”. In setting aside any claim or right to His life, Jesus Christ was willing to give all for you and me. Comparatively, we are asked to give much less – a few dollars here or an hour or two there. Yet it is not the scale of the gift that matters, it is the condition of our heart that is important. If we are not willing to joyfully and generously give a few dollars or a couple of hours, then how will we respond when something is really asked of us? This is the bigger question to me.
If we practice living with a loving heart, then we will experience the true joy of life that Jesus lived and modeled. This day and each day may we love as the Spirit leads – with eyes wide open and hearts receptive to the opportunities that God places before us. May we each love as He first loved us.