Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 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.
My father died when I was eleven years old. A year later, my mother suffered a debilitating stroke that left her unable to care for herself. Soon after, I moved in with my grandparents and they took care of me as their own child. I can only imagine what my life would have been had they not taken me in.
Granddaddy was good to me but it was my grandmother who had the greatest impact on my life. Her love for me was extraordinary. So great, in fact, that only in recent years have I been able to comprehend the depth of that love.
Once a month my Granddaddy would give Mammaw a little money to buy groceries. In the kitchen cabinet she kept an envelope where she would save the pennies from her purchases. She called it her “mad money.” Whenever there was something that I needed she would buy it from the money she had saved. She used the term “mad money” because it was money she could spend on herself.
When music became a major part of my life, I needed a better trombone than just a beginner instrument. Through the help of my band director my grandmother arranged for a musical instrument salesman to pay us a visit. He brought several trombones for me to try. One of the instruments was an incredibly amazing professional model but I knew there was no way that we could afford it. So I chose one of the cheaper intermediate horns.
To my astonishment my grandmother told the salesman that we were going to buy the better instrument and not the one I had selected. I was overwhelmed at her incredible generosity and asked her how she was going to pay for it. She said, “from my mad money.”
In the months that followed she baked cakes and pies for people and saved an extra portion from granddaddy’s grocery budget. She kept nothing for herself and put every penny toward making the $11 monthly payment. She gave from the little she had for me.
When I read today’s selected scripture, I was immediately reminded of my grandmother’s sacrificial love. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 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.”
She was an imitator of God, the most godly person I have ever known. Her life was a “life of love.” And her love was sacrificial.
In my life I have been the blessed beneficiary of sacrificial love, first in my grandmother, then from my wife, and supremely from Christ. How wonderful to be on the receiving end of such incredible love. But sacrificial love is better understood when it involves giving. I have grown in that understanding through my love for my wife, sons, and family. What I have learned is that sacrificial love comes naturally. It’s not something you are forced or required to do, but something that flows from the depths of your love for another.
Sacrificial love is given gladly and produces joy in the giver. As you become an imitator of God you see others through His eyes. You cannot imitate God without loving people. “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) To grow in Christ is to expand your love universe to include the people of the world. The more you love the more you want to love sacrificially. It’s natural. It’s who you are.
For more on this topic, check out this article: How Husband are to Love Their Wives
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.