“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:12-13 NLT
I love teaching and getting to know my students. My relationship with them is the most important part of my service as a teacher. I would do anything for them. Yes, if necessary I would lay down my life for them. But, I don't foresee that as something I will be asked to do. I feel it is safe to say that very few of us will be asked to lay our life down for a friend.
So why is this verse so important?
What if laying down our life for someone doesn't mean death? What sacrifice am I willing to make for my family, my friends, or my students? Am I willing to give up personal time to serve my students? Am I willing to give up leisure time to serve in ministry? Am I willing to do without in order to financially support my church or charity? In some ways it might be easier to give up your life than sacrifice time, money, or energy for the kingdom. The Lord needs us to give up ourselves, to give up our life, and replace it with service to others. We rarely are asked to make the ultimate sacrifice but we are constantly asked to live our lives for the kingdom instead of our selfish pursuits.