Give freely of your time to others.
The word “love” can carry several meanings in the English language. For instance, I can say, “I love God” or “I love my wife” or “I love your new car” or “I love ice cream”. In each instance, love means something different. So, I can understand when people are confused about what is meant by “Christian love”. We can read in our Bibles, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (I John 3: 16) So, I think that one word we can use to help us understand Christian love is sacrifice. “And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5: 2)
One area in which we might do a better job of Christian love is to sacrifice our time. One of the biggest myths in our culture is the idea of “quality time”…feeling that quality is more important than quantity. Now, it is nice to have those big moments in life, but I don’t think it is more important than just spending time with someone, even if you’re just sitting quietly in a room. Christian love may sacrifice comfort. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” (I Peter 1: 6) Christian love may be sacrificing possessions. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13: 16) I’ll bet we’ve all had those moments when someone does something foolish or does something that they feel bad about. Christian love affirms. There are moments when people don’t need a pep talk or a lecture, or for you to come up with a fix-it plan. Sometimes they just need our love. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12: 15) Maybe you’re thinking you can’t know how someone else is feeling. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (I Corinthians 1: 3-4)
On a cold winter day in 1982, an Air Florida Boeing 737-222 crashed in to the icy Potomac River in Washington D.C. Most of the passengers and flight crew were killed in the crash, but six passengers survived. The six clung desperately to the tail section of the plane. Quite some time elapsed before a police helicopter arrived on the scene. As the helicopter hovered over the six survivors, the helicopter crew, assessing the scene, did not think they could rescue all of them in time. They noticed that one of the survivors, later identified as Arland Williams, seemed to be in better condition than the others, so they decided to go to him first. They lowered the harness to Arland, but rather than put it on himself, he helped one of the other survivors in to it, and watched as that passenger was raised to safety in the helicopter. A second time the harness was lowered to Arland, and once again, he helped one of the other survivors in to the harness. This scene repeated itself until all five of the other survivors were hoisted to the helicopter. As the helicopter prepared to lower the harness one more time, Arland was nowhere in sight. On that cold winter day in 1982, Arland Williams drowned in the icy Potomac River.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.