It was a Saturday morning and I was headed off to the library to study for my mid-term on Monday. Like dozens of other sophomores at my college, we all felt a high degree of anxiety for this first mid-term. It was a make or break class for all pre-meds and this mid-term was worth 50% of our grade. On my walk to the library, I ran into my friend and fellow pre-med. He was headed in the opposite direction. “See you at the library? Going to be a long weekend.”
He shook his head and smiled. “No. Jake and I are taking Sally out for her birthday.”
“That’s nice! Just taking her out for lunch?”
“We are taking her to Disneyland. She has never been there and we wanted to surprise her.”
My smile faded as I absorbed the gravity of his statement. “So, you are going to be gone all day?”
“Yes, and all night. We want to make sure we see the fireworks at 9 PM.”
I didn’t want to state the obvious but I felt compelled. “But when are you going to study for the mid-term?”
“I’ll find a way. This is really important.”
“But…it is 50% of our grade.”
“I know but I want to do this! You know Sally, always putting everyone else’s needs first. Remember when she stayed up all night to bake those desserts to help her friend get through that bad break up? And what about the time when she dropped everything and drove to downtown to pick up those cupcakes that Jake loves when his dog had to be put down? Now it is her birthday and it is our turn to do something special for her.”
I admired my friend’s loyalty and compassion. I would like to write a happy epilogue to this story but unfortunately, this did not happen. My friend ended up getting a C on the mid-term and finished the semester with the same grade. The next year, he withdrew from his pre-med studies and embarked upon a new course of study.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17 (ESV)
My friend unselfishly gave of himself to honor and delight his friend. He paid a very high price but he never regretted it. I don’t know if I could have done the same thing. My life, then and now, is so pre-occupied with my own selfish interests, that I can barely look beyond my own horizon. My friend’s compassion was a vivid illustration of the wisdom of this proverb. Hundreds of years later, another Man would demonstrate His love for His friends.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13 (NIV)
Jesus Christ knew the price when He called someone His friend. His life was dedicated to obeying God, His Father. He was obedient to His death on the Cross suffering a humiliating and painful death. Why? Jesus loved all of us so much that He gave His life so that all who confess and repent of their sins and accept Him as their Lord and Savior will gain eternal life and salvation through faith in His Name.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.