“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 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. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:9-14 NLT
There is so much within these six verses I could write multiple “Eternal Significance” articles over the next four weeks. I want to say right from the very beginning of this Memorial Day weekend article, my thoughts were taking me in about four different directions; as to the reality of greater love as it is played out in each of our lives. Many of us will appreciate a day off tomorrow (Monday) because our nation will be honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our freedom. Let me bring a small level of clarity to this weekend’s primary purpose, as much as Memorial Day is often thought of for honoring all who served in our nation’s military (I am one of those who served) this day is meant for special recognition and honoring those who died in service of our nation. Monday at 11:30 I will be addressing a crowd of about a hundred people gathered at the Hawthorne Parkview Cemetery. It is an amazing privilege to able to share about men and women who paid the ultimate price to provide us the blessings of liberty and freedom we daily experience. As an American citizen, if you’re not already participating in a Memorial Day service, I would encourage you to come and just be with us at Parkview. I was asked to oversee the service, and I have the special privilege to share not only as a veteran but as a minister of the gospel and proclaim to those gathered that the epitome of greater love is found in no one but Jesus.
This greater love we are considering today has connections to my recent articles about reckless love. For each of us in 2019 one of the most important things we can do is make right choices as it relates to biblical values, moral values, and commonsense values. Obviously, everything is rooted in our God of ultimate wisdom, ultimate righteousness and ultimate love. We as His creation have the capability (even those who are not followers of the Lord Jesus) to use common sense to have good morals and hopefully one day even come to the realization that Jesus Christ is the only hope for this life and the life to come. God allows things in the natural to help us understand what His Son did for us on the cross. Memorial Day weekend is a great example, where we gather around gravestones and honor those who lived out reckless love — what the Bible calls greater love. An important thought provoking question asks, “How can I know if I have the capacity to live up to this greater love or this reckless love?” Sometimes I wonder about my own life and if I can live to the extent of greater love. One of the spiritual markers of greater love being active in our life is found in the fact that we put other people’s needs above our own. We don’t always consider our own interest the highest priority, we consider the needs of others (and not just your spouse or children but those around us). If you’re thinking about your own life…take a few minutes this Memorial Day weekend to consider what you have done to put the needs of others above your own. When is the last time your comfort, your desires and your aspirations took second place and you chose to live like Jesus and flow in greater love?