You know the quote. It goes like this:
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
In a very odd way, this quote is not very threatening, because we don’t expect to have to lay down our life for anyone or anything any time soon, certainly not today.
Laying down your life sounds dramatic and courageous and I’m sure we all see ourselves doing it if it came down to it.
So, how about we make it a little more sporting. How about we insert things we really could expect do for a friend.
I recently heard a conversation between a doctor and his patient – a man who had only barely survived a horrendous motorcycle accident. In the ER he begged the doctor to save his life because he had two kids. Later, while in traction from being pieced back together, the doctor asked if he would give up riding his hog.
The answer now? “I’ll have to think about that.”
Really? Yep. I bet he’s back on one within a month of being cleared. Because he’s indestructible. And lightning won’t strike twice. Or some other silly story he tells himself.
Do I sound ticked? What do I have against motorcycles? A little. Okay, a lot. I’m going to get myself in trouble. Maybe we should move on to something safer.
What would you lay down for a friend?
How about time? Maybe this guy’s friends came to visit him in the hospital. Maybe not. From my own personal experience, it’s a good bet that they never showed. It takes a special person to hang around a hospital for a friend. Maybe they “don’t do hospitals.” That’s a good excuse.
So, we won’t give up time. How about money? Well time is money, and we won’t give up time . . .
How about a phone call? Hmm. That might work. You don’t have to see anyone or go anywhere. But what do you say? It could get uncomfortable. He might ask you to do something or check on something for him. Maybe not.
A card would be nice. One way communication. No feedback or expectations. That would be good. Might stop by Hallmark tomorrow. Or sometime soon. No rush. Maybe I’ll wait until he gets out of the hospital and doesn’t have constant attention focused on him. It might mean more then. So, soon.
On the other hand, why should I go out of the way to help this guy when he won’t lay down his Harley for his own children. Why am I on the hook here? Maybe I should wait for someone really good before I get involved. Does Mother Theresa ride?
I’d do it for her. And my family. Well, most of my family. You know, immediate family.
Because who would lay down their life for a stranger who makes bad decisions? Not many, that’s for sure. It would take a lot of love. And who’s to say who is worth it? It’s hard to calculate.
I’ll have to think about it.
My command is this:Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this:to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command.
. . . Part of Jesus’ message to his disciples just before he crossed the Kidron Valley to the garden where he proved he meant it.