Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
When I'm on the road for Lutheran Hour Ministries, the places where I speak are responsible for my travel expenses. Good stewardship before the Lord, as well as with my fellow believers, dictates that I travel economy rather than in first-class.
That means that I, like most of you, can only plunk down in our squished-together-like-sardines seat after we have run the gauntlet of the premium passengers who are already wallowing in their large, soft, plushy seats, which come complete with plenty of hip and leg room.
Understand, I'm not bitter about the difference.
Some of the folks in those front seats are there because they are road warriors. Their job demands they be constantly traveling. The other group occupying first-class is the folks who have paid a pretty penny for the extra comfort and convenience. Both groups have earned the right to be and enjoy those large, soft, plushy seats, which come with plenty of hip and leg room.
All of this sets the stage for a most remarkable event.
A few weeks ago, 14 Marines were on their way home from Afghanistan. On a flight from San Diego to Chicago, six of those Marines were moved into the unoccupied first-class seats. That's when the remarkable thing happened. Knowing there were still eight Marines left in the economy section of the plane, eight first-class passengers forgot about what they had paid for those seats, forgot about how hard they had worked to be in those seats, and traded places with the Marines.
All the Marines flew to Chicago sitting on a large, plushy seat, which gave plenty of hip and leg room.
The Scripture for today's devotion says the greatest love we sinners can show is a willingness to die for our friends. Since those words come from the Savior, I wouldn't think of challenging them. But, I might add a really cool act of love we humans can show is a willingness to give up our first-class seats for a war-weary vet.
Yes, such gifts are the highest expression of love we humans can offer.
But they are pitifully - miserably -- small compared to the great gift of love that has been given to us through the Savior's sacrifice. You see, Jesus didn't offer Himself up for His friends. He died for those who hated Him and railroaded Him to the cross. Jesus didn't go to His death to save the best among us; He lived, died and rose to rescue from hell the worst of us.
To die for your enemies, that is the greatest love we will ever see. And we see it in the Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, having seen all You have done to save us, may we, in large ways and small, reflect the love we have been given into this dark and sinful world. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries