“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
“Do you have time for me?” a little boy asked his sweet, beautiful grandmother one day. “What do you mean?” she said, puzzled. “You’re looking at your watch,” the boy remarked. The boy, who had had a tumultuous, tragic, and trying life thus far when it came to loved ones, relied deeply on his grandmother for love to fill the big gaps and holes where love had been missing in his little life thus far. How remarkable, and sad, for a boy so young to be so sensitive about big people’s watches – and big people’s love. This is a true story. The grandmother is a beloved friend whom God chose to pour into the little boy’s broken heart the love of Christ that had gone missing – the love we big people are supposed to be filled with to pour out onto and into others.
“I know how he feels,” I essentially told my friend when she shared this. “I’m almost 49 and I still feel this way. For as long as I can remember, a person I love dearly has told me the person has to check the calendar and get back to me. When the person fills up all of the blocks of time with everything and everyone else, I get what’s leftover if anything.” There’s no telling how long I have to wait each time until the calendar gets filled. It hurts as much as it always has. I know exactly how that little boy feels though I am decades older! There’s a difference now, though. A huge one.
First, God has thankfully given me His love, mercy, forgiveness, compassion and care for that person. Second, He has used this experience along with other big hurts and losses to refine me and to teach me how to be more loving, more compassionate, more sensitive, more merciful, more sensitive, more considerate, and more giving. Third, He has given me a message for all of us.
When Jesus commands us to “love one another (John 13:34),” we need to TAKE THE TIME to love others. We need to be more sensitive to people’s needs. More loving. More tender. More patient. More thoughtful. More compassionate. More giving of our hearts – AND TIME. We must do this REGARDLESS OF HOW WE FEEL. It’s not about our feelings. It’s about loving God and loving others through Him.
Laying down our lives for others isn’t just about physically dying for them like martyrs and soldiers at war do. It’s about dying to ourselves, refusing what our flesh lusts after, and choosing instead to seek the Lord and follow Him where He leads us, to whom He leads us, for the purpose He leads us to them, for the time He desires we humbly give Him and them. How prone I am to point the finger at where others fall short in loving. Oh, how much growing I still need to do!
How about you?