The Gift of Sacrificial Love
By Rachael Adams
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. (John 15:12-13 NIV)
In the writing industry, the chance to pitch an idea to an agent or publisher is difficult to come by. So I was thrilled when I was able to attend a writer’s conference where I was given the rare opportunity to meet with my choice of either an agent or a publisher. After some thought, I chose to meet with an agent.
During my appointment, the agent mentioned another writer who had an idea that was similar to mine, and she suggested I reach out to the writer to brainstorm and glean wisdom from her.
Later that night during a time of fellowship in the conference center lobby, guess who walked up with a hand extended to introduce herself? Yep! The same writer the agent recommended I meet.
As we discussed the heart behind our book proposals, we immediately hit it off, and I marveled at God’s goodness shown through this divine appointment. And just when I didn’t think the day could be better, she shocked me with an unbelievably generous offer.
“I have a publisher appointment tomorrow, and I feel like God is telling me to give it to you,” she said.
I reluctantly yet respectfully declined. “I could never take your appointment. It’s yours.”
Then, with even more conviction, she responded, “It's meant to be yours and if I don’t give it to you I would be in disobedience to the Lord.”
Who can argue with that, right? So before we parted ways for the evening, I thanked her and told her I’d pray about it. The next morning, I woke up to a text with a picture of the meeting schedule with her name marked out and my name written in her place.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Once again, I marveled at God’s goodness. How could someone love another person, especially a stranger, so sacrificially?
Tears of gratitude fell from my eyes as I thought about how she had probably prayed for that meeting just like I had prayed for mine. I thanked God for the opportunity before me and for the woman He sent to bless me.
I soon realized my tears were also falling because I was convicted. Truth be told, had the roles been reversed, I’m not so sure I would have given her my appointment. As I recognized the selfishness in my heart and my unwillingness to give up something I wanted so much, I hung my head. I knew that if I had been asked to sacrifice in this way I wouldn't have been obedient.
But then I felt a positive shift in my heart. My writer friend’s incredible act of generosity sparked a desire in me to sacrificially love others as she had loved me.
Jesus taught the value of this kind of sacrificial love when He said, “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. (John 15:12-13 NIV)”
While Jesus doesn’t intend for us to die for our friends in a literal sense, He does intend for us to lay aside our own selfish desires and put the needs of others first. This may mean sacrificing your sleep, resources, tastebuds, comfort, wishlist, hobbies, timeline, likes, dislikes, recognition, rewards, or other things you might find hard to give up.
The key is learning to value others’ interests more than our own. This is what my new writer friend modeled for me. Such love reminds me of our Savior Who not only taught the concept but demonstrated it.
In the ultimate act of sacrificial love, Jesus gave His life for us. On the cross, He took our place and marked out our transgressions so our names could be forever written in His book.
And because He loved us sacrificially we now are to love others sacrificially. While this feels impossible to do on our own, it is possible because we have His Holy Spirit living in us. With His empowerment we can act in ways contrary to our fleshly nature.
I pray we follow His lead and surrender our will as He and my writer friend so beautifully displayed. May we be obedient to His command to love and open our hearts to the possibility that every interaction is a divine appointment from Him.
With this in mind, how can you sacrificially love someone in your own life today? As you show this kind of love, expect to marvel at God's goodness time and time again.
Rachael Adams is a writer, speaker, and host of The Love Offering podcast. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women to realize their God given purpose and to embolden them to move into the world through compassionate action. Rachael and her husband live in Kentucky with their two children. Connect with her online at www.rachaelkadams.com, on Facebook and Instagram @rachaeladamsauthor, and tune in every Tuesday on your favorite podcast listening platform.
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