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 and sisters. 1 John 3:16
After the U.S.S. Pueblo was captured in 1968 by the North Koreans, the 82 surviving crew members were thrown into brutal captivity. In one particular instance, 13 of the men were required to sit rigidly around a table for hours at a time. After several hours, the door violently was flung open and a North Korean guard brutally beat the man in the first chair with the butt of his rifle. The next day, as each man sat at his assigned place, again the door was thrown open and the man in the first chair was brutally beaten again. On the third day, the same thing happened again to the same man. Knowing the man could not survive another beating, a young sailor took his place. When the door was flung open the guard automatically beat the new man senseless. For weeks, each day a new man stepped forward to sit in that horrible chair, knowing full well what would happen. At last, the guards gave up in exasperation. They were unable to beat that kind of sacrificial love. (Andy Grossman, via SermonFodder.com)
Though we are called to love others freely, that love is never cheap. It always costs something to love another person. Thus, love should never be taken for granted or cheapened. Love is an asset and a resource for meaningful human relationships. It is a priceless gift that cannot be earned.
Most people seldom think about the price of love. They do not understand how much it cost someone else to love them. Love always requires an emotional investment. That investment does not guarantee a positive return. But the price for that investment must be paid regardless.
Because of His love for Humanity God made a love investment so we would not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus laid down his life for us because He loved us. The price of God’s love through Christ Jesus was blood and death. The chastisement of the world was upon Jesus, and He was wounded for our iniquities because of His love.
Whenever someone tells me they love me, I often wondered about the price of that love. That is, how much mental and emotional energy it took for that person to tell me they love me. Or, how much it is costing the individual to look beyond my many faults and overlook my flaws to love me, nonetheless. That’s precisely what God has been doing for us all since the creation of the world. He has been looking beyond our sins and showering us with His unfailing love through His amazing grace.
The crew members who were captured by the North Koreans paid the price for loving one another. That price was a brutal beating with the butt of a rifle. The price for loving others can be financial. As a husband and a father, I use my financial resources as one way to express my love for my family. Thus, paying the mortgage, buying groceries, or paying college tuition is the price for loving my family.
The price for loving others can also be spiritual. Jesus invested valuable time to pray for His disciples and all believers in John 17. Prayer is often the most valuable gift we can give to someone else. When I sacrifice my limited time to pray for someone, I am paying the price for loving that individual. They may never know the sacrifice of love I made to carve out time to pray for them, but God knows.
Before you tell someone that you love them, think about the price of that love. How much are you willing to do for that person because of your love for them? Is your love patient and kind even when the other person is insufferable? Do you make a concerted effort to honor that person and not put your personal needs ahead of theirs? Is your love not self-seeking, envious, boastful, or proud? If so, the price of your love is self-sacrifice; and it is the most valuable, honorable, and godly type of love.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What is the price of your love for God?
What does it mean to say that love is free, but it is never cheap?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for your precious love for me. I will never know how that love costs you. Please help me to live in obedience to your will and do your great commission as the price of my love for you. May I have the courage and conviction to sacrifice my life for my love for you!