“For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.”
— Luke 9:24 (NRSV)
What we associate as pain,
To sacrifice ourselves to love,
Is the ironical way to gain,
This life that comes from above.
When we lose our lives we save them,
As Jesus said it was so,
In becoming His women and men,
We sacrifice ourselves to grow.
Only can this upside-down life be experienced in order that we see its truth: as we love another without self-regard we stand open to be blessed by God. But this blessing of God’s isn’t to be our motivation. It’s a beautiful byproduct of our faith to sow seeds of love.
It’s possibly the greatest matter of trust: to give ourselves over to God for his use and glory. It takes great faith to learn to do it consistently. It proves our belief – that this One who demonstrated the life we are to lead, to the exemplification of perfection, is so worthy of being followed. We follow Jesus this way and we need not follow another in ways of giving our allegiance. But we will want to love others and that will mean there is the appearance of following; this ‘following’ is, however, a choice.
It is a grand life that does not care for itself to the extent that it lives for others.
This is a life that would appear not to care but for the case of it loving all it can – all human beings – because they are made in the image of God. Because we are to care so much for our fellow human beings, we care for their pets, their possessions, and their world – to our entire creation. Damaging anything has a relational concern about it. We ought to care about everything, except where we care selfishly about our own concerns and not trust or allow God to provide.
When we sacrifice in loving, choosing ways, we show we understand Jesus. We take him at his word. We require nothing of God when we give ourselves to him, knowing that such bouts of trust are repaid, even in ways of multiplication.
It is a grand life that does not care for itself to the extent that it lives for others. That’s our living challenge. Placing others before ourselves, because we are trusting in God, means our own contentedness is supplied by God’s Spirit within us.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.