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Laying it Down



I have always thought of myself as loyal. In fact, I would call it one of my most defining attributes. I have many long-term friendships, stay at jobs for decades, and have been married for forever to the same wonderful man. We always say we both have this “stick-to-it-ness,” and it’s one of the reasons our marriage has lasted through thick and thin.


Considering all that, I might call myself a practiced professional on loyalty, if there is such a thing. But, when I was given this word to write about, I did feel a little stumped. How do I translate what I know to something God would want to say?


Here is where my heart and my bible-roamin’ fingers led me…


“Greater love has no one than this:

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

John 15:13 (NKJV)


In this, one of Christ’s greatest teachings, He explains that we are counted as more than just followers; we are counted as God’s friends when we follow His teachings, let it shape us and bring God’s good into the world. God loves the whole world, every last one of us, but friends are close and intimate.


More than servants. More than slaves. More than employees. Friends.


John 15 continues with Jesus telling us it is because God sees us as friends that He includes us in the working of His will. He tells us His plans, invites us into those plans, and brings about goodness that grows in us like fruit on a vine.


In other words, as God’s friends, we are counted in, counted on, and included in making a difference that counts.


This chapter in John also emphasizes the biggest truth you will find in the Bible! For His friends, Christ shows the greatest kind of love there is; He lays down His life for us!


That brings us back to loyalty…Loyalty and faithfulness are part of what led Christ to do what He did. Through that example, loyalty is where you and I lay our lives down for others.


If you have had any good, long-term relationships, I am sure there are times when you have laid down what you desire or require for the sake of another. This happens because of love, devotion and loyalty.

  • A mother lays down her need for sleep to tend to her baby’s needs at 2:00 a.m.

  • A friend sits at their bestie’s bedside when illness comes

  • Forgiveness is given by one spouse to heal the harsh words of the other

And likewise, we have all witnessed what it looks like when loyalty is NOT in a relationship, forfeited when neither are able to lay down themselves, each one adamant that their hurts are more important, each one unwilling to sacrifice their need for the other’s, and each one deciding that a single wrong should bring banishment.


As for love and loyalty, Jesus provides the model to follow. What can be a better example of loyalty than giving up a heavenly throne to be seated on a cross?


For us humans, laying down our lives isn’t always a grand act of heroism. It is often a simple gesture. A moment. An Hour. A day. It may be the setting aside of my own agenda; and by that, laying down just that piece of my life for another. Sometimes all that is needed is to meet a need. To give your time, talents and resources can be a simple but powerful way to show loyalty to another.


In his later years, after my mom had passed away, my dad was once engaged to a lovely woman named Josephine. However, that didn’t work its way into a marriage. Fortunately, they remained good friends. A couple of years later, my dad became infirmed, unable walk very well or to drive to their weekly Wednesday lunches.


This is when the loyalty of that friendship showed itself in a beautiful way.


“Jo” would bring lunch out on Wednesdays to sit and visit with my dad. A few dollars and an hour of her time gave the gift of attention to a lonely man. And every time my dad went into the hospital, and there were many, she would drive thirty-something miles to sit at his side for a couple of hours or bring him a favorite drink.


Jo laid her life down for my dad. Through her friendship, she made another’s life better because of her loyalty. It wasn’t a lot; it didn’t have to be. Even without a dramatic gesture, she made a difference… to my dad and to me. I get all teary-eyed even now, grateful for the kind of friendship she gave to my dad in his final years.


So, my dear loyal friends, I leave you again with the words of Christ that can change us and change the world…


“Greater love has no one than this:

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”


My recommendation? Give simply. Act generously. Live loyally.


Shalom,


Namra

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