Via Doctors Without Borders - Sudan
Image via Doctors Without Borders – Sudan

You may have heard it said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

What does laying down our life look like in this day and age?

Consider this: your life is made up of time, years, weeks and hours.  When you go to work, you get paid for the time you invest or for the services that require your time.  That time represents your life.

For many people, for every working hour of their life, an exchange of money takes place.  If you have worked 40 hours for $1200, then you have given one hour of your life for a return of $30.  When you spend $120, you have effectively given what represents four hours of your life.

In this way, the money you receive and the time you use represent your life. 

That said, I wonder what you are giving your life to?   What are you “laying your life down” for?

There’s no doubt that there are many good causes to donate to and many opportunities to be generous with our time and resources.   It seems the ask is louder the larger our population grows and the more our world finds itself in need of help.

What you may not have considered is that when you do respond to support these causes, you are doing something significant.  You are giving of your life.

If you give money to support a child in a third world country, you’re giving your life to better the life of that child.  It’s a beautiful thing.

If you have donated to researching a cure for illnesses, you give your life for those people suffering and the ramifications of that will outlive you.

If you dedicate hours a week to better the lives of others (like my friend who is on a pension but time rich), you lay your life down.

I would encourage you to not only see yourself handing over dollars or “helping out”, but see yourself investing your life into whatever you give to.

Most of us will not be called upon to lay down our physical life for another.  But there is a way that we can all lay down our lives for others.  It’s through living generously.

Every day we have the opportunity to be generous with our time, our energy  and our resources.

Not only are you doing a good thing when you give of your life for others, but I believe it’s in giving that you experience a personal sense of well-being. I also believe you will have a sense that your life is more meaningful as it is attached to greater purpose.

A survey of 2000 people from different socioeconomic backgrounds found that those who volunteered at least 5.8 hours a month and those who gave at least 10% of their income had higher levels of happiness, less depression and had generally better health (Smith and Davidson).

An exchange of generosity and love will in itself have a benefit to both the giver and the receiver. 

Next time you give your time, energy or money for the benefit of others, know that in your own way you are laying down your life – and there really is no greater love.