Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Although we know that throughout history and even today there are those who have had to die for their faith in Christ and our first reaction to this passage is that that may be required of us, there is another meaning to those verses. Christ did not say to die for His sake but rather to lay down your life for a friend. It might be easier to die than to continually, day after day, place the welfare of others over your own and by that ‘lay down your life’. This one Christian practice is what separates the TRUE Christian faith from almost all other beliefs in this world. And certainly we are to set aside our own agenda for life and replace it with the Lord’s plan for us. Remember He is a friend also. (vs. 14).

Further, to “lay down your life for a friend” is the single most powerful witness we have to the world. Earlier in the book of John, Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, that ye have love one for another”. The love chapter in 1 Corinthians concludes “There are three things that will endure,–Faith, Hope and Love–and the greatest of these is Love”. And in Mark, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water in my name … he shall not loose his reward.”

It couldn’t be more clear; what we do for others is counted as being done for Christ. It is the mark of the Christian faith, will be recognized by the world and be rewarded by our Lord. But how much time and how much consideration do we give in our busy schedules today to help or benefit our friends?

Several years ago the Pasteur of our church asked me to provide a place to stay, at my home, for a homeless man that had come to the church. I really did not want to do it but under the circumstances could not refuse. It turned out to be a real blessing; we had fellowship together about the love of Christ and in the end he told me that no one had ever offered for him to stay in there home. He was encouraged by this display of love. I, on the other hand, was very convicted about my reluctance. Are we really willing to lay down our plans and agenda for others as we should?

Lord give us a vision of souls gone astray,
Out on the cold mountains of sin;
Help us to be working while yet it is day,
For soon the judgment will begin… (Lord Give Us a Vision)