A young man sent a love letter to his girlfriend. It read: “Darling, I’d climb the highest mountain, sail the widest ocean, cross the hottest desert just to see you. P.S.—I’ll be over Saturday night if it doesn’t rain.”

We chuckle at his fickleness, but feel bad for the girl who, like all of us, longs for love in action, not empty promises.

John said that Jesus Christ showed us what true love is when “He laid down His life for us.” But John continued, “We also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Jn. 3:16).

The Greek word used for love in 1 John 3:16 is agape. This kind of love is characterized by sacrifice. It is a love based on the will, not on emotions. It’s not a feeling subject to the whims of our convenience. It is a decision to love another despite the cost.

Laying down our lives for others usually doesn’t mean dying. Often it costs little more than stopping what we’re doing and entering someone’s world of need. I once felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to stop scrubbing my kitchen floor to visit a neighbor. She later accepted Christ, in part due to the friendship we had established during that visit.

Don’t miss small opportunities to love by waiting for big ones. With agape love, even small acts of love are big.