“I am only doing this because I love you so much.” This is what I say when my wife or children ask me to do something I don’t particularly enjoy. It is my way of gently protesting an inconvenient task which I am happy to do for someone I love.
Jesus understands inconvenient love. His love drove Him from His heavenly throne and into a feed trough for cattle. His love moved Him to tears as He looked upon masses of people who reminded Him of sheep without a shepherd. His love for people led Him to false accusation, brutal beatings, and a horrific death via crucifixion. Jesus’s love was inconvenient for Him, but it is certainly convenient for us. Jesus’s love made it possible for us to be made new, and it opened the door for us to be fully reconciled to God.
Jesus said we are to love each other in the same manner He loves us (John 13:34). What if we actually obeyed this command? Marriages flourish when husbands and wives joyfully give themselves up for each other. Peace and unity are preserved in churches when people give up their own rights and privileges for the sake of others. The Kingdom of God increases when we sacrificially invest our time, energy, and finances into Christian missions and service. I want to live in a community that loves. I want to live in a world that loves. It starts with me, and it starts with you.
I don’t know about you, but I am still learning to love as Jesus loves. Calls for help often come when it is less than convenient for me. The needs of others interrupt my own selfish agenda, and I often need a short time-out to readjust my attitude along and my itinerary so I may joyfully give myself for another. I believe this is a good measure of our love. People often say, “I love you,” but they seem to really mean, “I love how I feel when I am with you, and I am happy to continue to be with you until I stop feeling this way.” I am so grateful Jesus doesn’t love like that. He showed us that love has nothing to do with personal convenience or gain. True love is sacrificial.
Friends, let us truly love others. Let it start in our homes as we practice joyfully giving ourselves up for each other, and let our love extend to the world around us. May we also gain the vision of Jesus Christ to see the brokenness around us, and may we gain His heart to do something about it.
“I asked Jesus, how much do You love me? And Jesus said ‘This much.’ Then He stretched out His arms and died.” – Unknown