Malala Yousafzai, 2013
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
~ Jn 15:13
What are you willing to die for? It’s not a frivolous question. It shows your priorities. The very fact that Jesus would state that there is no “greater love … than this” shows just how important it is to think about.
Well, Malala Yousafzai was willing to die for an education. She was willing to die in order to inspire other girls in Pakistan to go to school. Her courage resulted in worldwide fame and being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (she did not win, but some group I’ve never heard of did). As you are probably aware, in spite of the death threats, she continued going to school until she was shot in the face at age 14.
She recently appeared on the Jon Stewart Show, and while I don’t watch it, I don’t know I’ve ever seen any interview clips where he was actually speechless. According to Business Insider in “16-Year-Old Malala Yousafzai Leaves Jon Stewart Speechless With Comment About Pacifism“, she told Stewart her reaction to learning the Taliban wanted her dead.
I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’ But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’ Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.’
She also told Diane Sawyer in an interview that she believed God had spared her, and that gives her purpose. Can we say we have a purpose that drives us as much? Is our conviction as strong, or have we begun to take our calling for granted?
Jesus said we were to be willing to die for His sake and the Gospel’s sake (Mk 8:35). If Jesus is truly our example, we must be willing to lay down our lives for each other.
Part of leaving a legacy is being willing to die for something and/or someone. True Christianity contains both of these. I want you to think about this.
When I look around at all these churches, all these splinters and especially all these independents, I cannot help but ask, “Who are they willing to die for? For whom am I?” For if love is the first of the Fruits of the Spirit and the greatest of gifts (1Co 13), and if there is no greater love than to be willing to lay down one’s life for another, then these questions demand answers.