Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down ones’ life for his friends.” John 15:13
Oswald Chamber explains, “Sacrifice is the Holy Spirits’ ultimate expression of love.”
Marriage tends to have a way of teaching us this kind of sacrificial love. God sure knew what He was doing when He created it.
I am watching my mom live this kind of love daily. (By the way, she’d be mortified to know I’m writing of her. ) She has always had the most humble of servants’ hearts and right now, as they’ve been throughout my life, her actions are a great teacher to me.
Years ago, my precious daddy, the one who always took such care of all of us—the amazing athlete, admired coach and teacher, —how he “laid down his life” for his family and so many others—was diagnosed with dementia.
It’s a horrible disease stealing memories and dignity.
Yet, through it all, I’ve seen my parents continue to love each other so. I’ve especially seen my mom “lay down her life” over and over for my dad as they are no longer able to do the things they enjoyed together, and life has changed dramatically. She’s taken on his roles in caring for their home, bills and making decisions. He’s no longer able to do even the simplest of tasks, like use a phone, or even pick out his clothes, and they always need to be together.
He’s forgotten what pizza is, places they’ve lived, and memories of things they’ve done together. He’s forgotten how old his kids are. He isn’t able to pick out anniversary or birthday gifts for her. Some days he thinks she is his mom.
For years before his mind became worse, every night, just before bed, Dad would say to Mom, “I just want you to know how much I appreciate all you do for me.”
That kind of love–sacrificial, committed love between a man and a woman, is so much greater than an emotional, physical, romantic love celebrated in our world today.
Sacrificial love is deep and strong and Holy Spirit birthed.
It has grown in my mom the same way it grows in others — from daily following the Lord in His example of laying down His life for us. It is spurred on by the truth that the problems of this world—though exhausting, difficult, mean and hard—are just temporary.
One day God really will wipe every tear from our eyes. One day dementia and all disease and death really will be no more.
One day we, who call Jesus “Lord”, really will run and walk and not grow weary. The cares of this world will be the forgotten memory and, we will together, with perfect bodies and restored minds, worship the source of our strength.
Oh one day, those who sacrificially love like the Savior —the caregivers; the ones who keep on day in and day out to serve when it is hard, those who seek to help the broken , the abused, the orphan, the addicted, the poor; those who chase after the spiritually lost—who often don’t even know they are lost; and all the ones who have repeatedly laid down their lives for others in so many ways—will undoubtedly hear the words, “ Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Oh may what I seek to do today, be not for temporary, fleeting, worldly glory, but be worthy of the eternity words, “Well done my good and faithful servant. “
God, help us all sacrificially love others – so they might see You and our world be truly changed.
And today, as we celebrate 55 years of marriage between my parents -this sweet woman and this dear man, I continue to be so very blessed for what the Lord is teaching me through their love story.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Your family is eternally blessed by your commitment to God, each other and your family!
(And yes, that’s my parents smooching in the picture.)