“Honey, would you go upstairs in storage and get me the big red suitcase?”
“I’m in the middle of something. Can it wait until after lunch?”
When I’m working in my home office, I’m always in the middle of something! Historically, when asked for this kind of favor, I would go into a long sigh and an explanation of why I couldn’t do it right now.
More recently, I’ve been learning a simple lesson from what Jesus did and said at the Last Supper when he showed his disciples how much he loved them.
“He laid aside (tithemi in Greek) his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.” John 13:4 ESV
Turns out that tithemi would be a very significant word before the evening was over—Jesus using it again when he said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he tithemi his life for his friends.” John 15:13
One can’t help but think of 1 John 3:16. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” The message seems clear—lay down = dying. Jesus died for me and someday I might die for someone else. Someday!
But the word tithemi can be translated “lay up, lay down or lay aside.” I think the first use of the word that evening—“He laid aside his outer garments”—could lead us to consider the same use throughout the night.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay aside his life for his friends.” “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid aside his life for us. And we ought to lay aside our lives for our brothers.”
My point is this: I believe every act of love requires us to lay aside our life. It’s just how love works! But if we wait until the moment we might die to demonstrate our love for someone, we will miss a thousand opportunities to love those around us.
So back to the lesson I’m learning from Jesus. Most of the time when my wife asks me to do a favor for her, the easiest, most loving and joy filled way to respond is simply to lay aside my life—right in that moment—and say, “Yes, I’ll get it for you now!”
I want to “love like Jesus!” I want to experience the joy of laying aside my life at the many opportunities I have to love others!
Join me. Let’s all learn to “love like Jesus!”