My dog Lucy has not learned to fetch yet. Yes, she’s a Labrador “retriever”. She absolutely will chase the ball but rather than bring it back for you to throw again, she prefers to play chase. She gets the ball and we chase her. Today I was throwing the ball up the stairs hoping it would bounce back to me and miss her. This usually worked but every once in a while, she was quicker and got the ball. However, I had a second ball.
So there she stood with a ball in her mouth, and I with one in my hand. She had to choose what mattered most. The ball she had or the one I had. I know that a dog does not quite process information like we do but what she had to consider was priorities. Since her goal was not to collect the ball, it was to interact with me… it was better for her to lay down her ball and come try to get the other ball from me.
And this is what is wrong with our society now. Nope, it has nothing to do with tennis balls or dog or playing chase. But it has everything to do with priorities and being willing to lay something down for the reward of others.
The apostle John understood this because he witnessed it first hand. He then wrote about it many times, sometimes very directly and sometimes a little more subtle.
His most famous scripture is “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Now technically this speaks of God’s love by laying down His Son’s life. However since Jesus IS God, He was laying down His own life for us.
Perhaps one of the next more well known scriptures of John is “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) This act of laying down your life is the absolute highest form of love. This kind of love is something few of us will ever experience in the physical sense.
But then we come to a verse in one of his later books. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1 John 3:16) While this is referencing the physical laying down of Christ’s life to show the greatest love, he then is saying that we ought to do likewise. Now John is NOT saying that we should be crucified to show our love… or even that we must physically die to show our love. But he is saying that we ought to set our lives aside in order that we may display love to another. Just like Lucy set her ball down to come play with me, we ought to set our priorities aside, our selfish ambitions… and serve others.
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