The Bible is filled with stories that provide examples of God’s great love.
One of the first pictures of God’s sacrificial love is the story of Abraham being called to offer up his son, Isaac, in Genesis 22. Abraham had to make an almost impossible choice; whether or not to sacrifice his beloved son on an altar to God. One can only imagine the anguish of such a decision and the weight Abraham must have felt in the three days leading up to this event. Ultimately, Isaac’s life was spared, but the story prefigures Christ and the Cross.
Just as Abraham grappled with sacrificing his son, so God himself (centuries later) grappled with sacrificing His Son; compelled by His love for the world.
The Apostle John tells us that God’s love was put on display in His decision to hand over His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. John’s definition of love centers around this sending of God’s Son into the world for the sake of humankind. Has there ever been any greater display of love than when one gives one’s life for another?
The first advent of Christ displayed God’s love in this way, and we now wait in hope for Christ’s second advent, when He will return in glory. Because we have already seen the Father’s love on display in His sending Christ to us, we can be certain in our hope that Christ will return once more.
What is left to us in the meantime is the task of displaying God’s self-sacrificial love ourselves; not just to our families, and churches, but to our communities and even our enemies. To do this, we may need to relinquish some of the common objects of our love.
Is God calling us to hand over our free time to serve others? Are we being called to hand over our typical holiday traditions to meet each other’s needs? Or are we being called to hand over our desire to be right and win an argument for the sake of our fellowship in Christ?
Whatever we offer up, may our love be a reflection of God’s love for us, and may we rely on the love God has for us as we eagerly await the return of our Savior.