On August 24th, 2016, my Grandpa Herbert Heider went to heaven. He was ninety-years-old. As a dedicated Christian, he diligently read the Word of God and attended church. He treated people with kindness and generosity. Most of all, he loved Jesus.
A carpenter by trade, he built many houses. But after he retired, he scaled down to pieces of furniture, decorative boxes, doll cribs, and wooden toys. At his funeral, however, his small wooden hearts were highlighted. On these hearts, he had painstakingly stamped individual letters that read “Jesus Loves You.” He would hand them out to family and friends. I own several of them, constant reminders of Grandpa’s love for Jesus and his passion for telling others.
Though we may not be as savvy at woodworking as my grandpa, there are many other ways we can share the love that Jesus has for others. It is, after all, what Jesus commanded us to do.
Share the Love of Jesus
Sharing the Gospel is the first and most important way we can extend His love to others. To be able to accurately share that Gospel, we must first understand what Jesus’ love inspired Him to do.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
People need to know that it was the love Jesus had for us that inspired Him to go to the Cross. It wasn’t fame, power, or the possibility of wealth that motivated Him. It was His love for us that kept Him focused on His mission. When His mission was accomplished, He passed on the Great Commission to us – the commission to share the message of salvation to others.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)
Without the love of Jesus working through us in the message we share, many people will never know His love. They will never know the truth of the Gospel, the truth that Jesus’ death – inspired by love – has paid the price for their eternity in heaven.
Show the Love of Jesus
Actions speak louder than words. We can share the love of Jesus through our message, but if our actions don’t match His love, the message will seem hypocritical to our listeners. It’s the love of God that compels us to give our lives to Him (2 Corinthians 5:14). People need to see the Jesus’ love as much as they need to hear it. And according to Jesus, showing His love is how they will know a believer from an unbeliever.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
So how do we show His love? There are many ways, but first and foremost, we can lay down our lives for others, just as Jesus did.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (John 15:13)
When we choose to lay down our lives for someone, we are putting them first. Just as we try to love our lives by preserving it, we are to look out for the well-being of others. This action looks like I Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
In short, showing the love of Jesus means treating others like we would like to be treated. (Luke 6:31) Someone else loved us enough to share the Gospel with us so we could be saved. Others have selflessly been kind to us, thought the best of us, and endured our bad behavior. Our goal, like my grandpa’s, should be to share that same love to others. That’s what Jesus would do!
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (John 4:7, 8)
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)
This article is dedicated Grandpa Heider. The picture of a wooden heart at the top of the page was made by him. I will miss you, Grandpa! Enjoy spending time with Jesus face to face!