This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. John 15:12-13 (MSG)
What do you think that means? “Put your life on the line for your friends.”
Does it mean take a minute away from what you are doing to do something for someone else? Does it mean to take time? To stop, to linger, to be present?
In our fast paced society with a to-do list longer than we can possibly accomplish, we regularly push through what needs to get done never touching anyone in a meaningful way. And, when we do think we need to help, we schedule it in. God forbid we just stop, in the middle of the chaos and touch.
As I write these words, I know I am a huge offender in this department. My schedule gets really full. I do schedule time to see people not because I feel like I have to but because I want to. I truly want to spend time and catch up.
But there are times in the middle of the circus where God says “Call.” And I think “When am I going to do that?” The answer should be now. Always now. If I stop and call and listen, truly listen without focusing on my agenda or my schedule that is when the Holy Spirit moves. That is when the bonding happens and not only have I loved on someone, I too have been filled with love.
This text in other versions says “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” We read that and think we have to physically die to fulfill it, like Jesus did. But Jesus also laid down his life every single day. He stopped to talk to people. He listened and interacted. He was present.
Maybe, just maybe laying down our life simply means to be inconvenienced so we can love. Taking myself out of the center and someone else in is exactly what Jesus did. We should die like that…..often.