Sometimes making people happy is easy.
The other night I brought Kyle home a cookie that I grabbed while I was out with a couple friends. He was thrilled. More thrilled than I expected.
It was easy. He was happy. But it got me thinking . . . is giving as sweet if it doesn’t cost anything?
It got me thinking about what selflessness really means. About sacrificing your own wants and needs for someone else. About giving until you have absolutely nothing left to give.
It got me thinking about Easter.
I like to say that I’m too busy to plan extravagant surprises for Kyle, or to go out of my way to make him happy. I make excuses. I push things off. Days pass, and things stay the same.
Jesus didn’t let anything stop him.
“[H]e was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” —Isaiah 53:5
Now that’s giving. That’s commitment. That’s selflessness. It’s something I come back to when I feel lost, forgotten, or frustrated. It’s a constant reminder of his commitment. Because of his death on the cross, there’s no way I could ever doubt his love.
Sacrifice makes an impact
It’s sacrifice that sticks with us. When someone goes completely out of their way—giving up time, other opportunities, comfort, or money, to do something kind for someone else. The story of Ruth and Naomi sticks with us. The story of someone giving up an organ for a friend or family member makes us stop and think. It goes against everything we’re wired to do. It goes against what’s easy and comfortable—after all, they’re never things we’re required to do.
But when I think about Jesus’ love for us, I instantly think about his sacrifice. I think about the fact that he sacrificed for an undeserving people. He suffered and died so we could live.
“Love always involves responsibility, and love always involves sacrifice. And we do not really love Christ unless we are prepared to face His task and to take up His Cross.” —William Barclay
Just as Jesus gave up his rights and died on the cross, we must give up the rights we think are ours. We expect certain things from our husbands. We believe that marriage should be a 50/50 effort. When we give more than we receive, we get frustrated.
Sacrifice will bear fruit
Giving myself to benefit others, specifically my husband, is a reminder of my love and commitment to him. And the truth is that the fruit we’ll experience from those sacrifices will far outweigh the momentary discomfort or extra work.
And the best part: Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. God raised him and justified his death on the cross. Because of what he experienced, we get to experience, grace, unending love, and eternity with him.
Because of his death on the cross, we can rest in the fact that when we give of ourselves, we will see fruit. Even if it’s not in the way we expected, or not as quickly as we hoped, our marriages will benefit.