Three days ago, Melissa Degesso-Jones of Florida donated a kidney to her husband, James Jones. The surgeon who performed the procedure said, “Melissa is making the rest of us look bad. Most of us buy an expensive box of candy and call it a day, but this girl is just something phenomenal.” James agrees: “It’s one of those things where I’ll continue to reciprocate this for the rest of my life, because you’ll never be able to give her anything that’s going to be able to match life.”
“(I’m) giving as much love as I have,” Melissa told an Orlando television station before the surgery. “It’s completely from my heart. James has said things to me about it being a huge sacrifice, and I said, ‘It’s not; it’s an investment. This is our life. It’s not just your life that I’m giving to. There can’t be an ‘us’ without it.'”
She’s right. A psychology professor who studies married couples has concluded that those who act in compassionate ways toward their partner increase their own happiness at least as much as the other person’s. But there’s a catch: if we serve our spouse so we will be served, our strategy will fail. It’s important that our acts of compassion are motivated only by a desire to serve the one we love.
Does this finding seem biblical to you?
On the night Jesus was betrayed, “he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (John 13:4-5). This was an act no Jew could be made to perform, not even a slave.
Picture Jesus crawling from disciple to disciple, washing the feet of men who would abandon him, deny him, betray him. Then hear his application: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (v. 14). Why is such sacrificial service so important? Because “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (v. 35).
Billy Graham was right: “God proved his love on the cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'” On this Valentine’s Day, know that you are loved unconditionally by the King of the universe. And know that you are now called to demonstrate the transforming reality of his love by serving those you love. Whose feet will you wash today?