“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16 (NIV)
The word “Love” is overused to the point of unimportance. I would argue the same is true for John 3:16. Most people have heard, or are familiar with this verse. We are regularly desensitized to these common, yet indispensable words.
The Bible says huge things about love. Google it. The scripture references, the different perspectives, and the lessons don’t end. Yet, John 3:16 is so famous because it summarizes the entire plot of the Bible in one go. Jesus’ birth that we celebrate during Christmas is the beginning of God’s redemptive love for His people, His children, YOU! Jesus was born in Bethlehem and died in Golgotha because God loves you.
But what does that mean for us and how we love? As Christians, we are called to love each other how God first loved us–through selfless sacrifice. For “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
My parents always encouraged the proper use of the word “love” in our household. “MOM, I LOVE THIS PUMPKIN PIE.” “You want to serve your pie?” “No…I think this pie is utterly delectable and I wish I could eat it every day.” “That’s more like it, here have another slice.” You get the idea. Love is the act of laying down your life for your friends–serving them. You can’t serve pumpkin pie… (unless it’s on a plate).
If we love someone as God loves us, we put their needs before our own. We honor them with our actions. Laying down your life for your friend is heroic and feels right. We all think deep down that we would have the courage to take a bullet for someone. But it’s a bit harder to weave this concept into the normalcy of everyday life: letting people drop in the park before you, not getting frustrated when someone cuts the lift line, opening doors for others, holding your tongue from gossip, cleaning up after yourself, and respecting ski patrol. C.S Lewis has been quoted saying, “Love is unselfishly choosing for another’s highest good.”
What/who are you serving right now?
Is it something valuable enough to serve, or is it “Pumpkin Pie”?
How can you love someone by serving them today?
By Ellie Heethuis | Byron Center, MI