June 2 - Sacrificing for Friends

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2 – Sacrificing for Friends

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 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. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:9-17)

How do you love your friends?

I was talking to a friend the other day and they mentioned that they sometimes felt as if their life was a lot like Facebook.  Most of their friends were the “Happy Birthday, I hope you have a great day” type of friends.  Nothing was ever more intimate than, “Hi, How are you … I’m fine … hope you are as well.”  Very few people even cared to get past that with them.

Do you know that feeling?

I was working at a church years ago and wondered if people really cared whether or not they heard more than “I’m fine,” when they asked “How are you?”  So, I tested it.  One of the guys I worked with on practically a daily basis called to go over some things we were dealing with and I knew the first question after saying hello would be “How are you?”  To be honest … that day was hard.  I’d had more nos than yesses while searching for Sunday School teachers and I was at my wits end.  I told him that the morning had been tough. 

He didn’t skip a beat – went right into the information he needed to give to me and then got off the phone.  I remember the stunned feeling in my heart.  My usual answer, no matter how tough things were, was “I’m fine.”  No one else needed to know the struggles I was having.  He couldn’t handle it.  The moment I opened up, though … I was set aside.

Very few friends can really handle us.  They are dealing with their own stuff and don’t want to know what is going on deep down inside us.  They don’t want to manage anything else.  There aren’t many that are willing to sacrifice a significant amount of time to walk through a problem, to take the time to be there, no matter what, whenever you need them.  To offer themselves sacrificially to you before you ask … no matter what might come.
Jesus calls us to love each other with that type of sacrificial love.  To drop everything, including our own needs and desires, to care for people around us … not just those we are required to care for (our family), but our friends. 

Every day we encounter people on a very surface level.  We give them a moment’s attention and then are drawn into something else and away from their needs.  What would it take for us to ‘lay down our lives’ for our friends, to love them with everything that we have, to offer unconditional friendship?  Can we do it for one friend? Can we do it for more than that?  Can we transform ourselves to do it for anyone we call friend?