“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” 1 John 3:16 – 18
Working in the healthcare field I hear a lot about sacrifice, but one of the most impactful stories I have heard is about the longest kidney transplant chain. Most kidney transplants happen when a relative of the recipient is a match and decides to donate a kidney. Humans can live with a single kidney, but the donor still is providing the gift of a healthier life to the recipient.
This chain began back in December of 2013 and has involved 34 living donors, with 34 recipients. Another interesting aspect of this story is that the chain started when a resident of Alabama approached UAB Hospital about the possibility of donating a kidney. In order to donate a kidney the donor must be evaluated for their medical state and then the donor must be matched with a recipient.
What is incredible about this “paired donation” chain is that it is the loving sacrifice of strangers that has allowed it to continue on to reach so many people. Essentially the chain involves paying it forward on behalf of loved ones, allowing the love of one to reach many people.
Jesus is the truest example of love requiring sacrifice. He died on the cross for our sins. His love was so deep that He sacrificed His life so that we may have eternal life. It was the actions of Jesus that allow us to love one another and provide an example of how we can better love others.
It can be so easy to talk about loving others, but it is much more to really love in action. Jesus did not just talk about living the perfect life or dying on the cross for our sins, He actually did it. He lived a sinless life, but died the death of a sinner because that is how much He loved us.
We have the perfect example of love in Jesus so that we can then go out and love those around us.