Lay Down Your Life
A Short Story by Jordan Jachim
Sir Christopher watched with dread as the crossbow was deliberately pointed at his wife, whom he had loved and cherished for so many years.
“Kill me, but spare her!” he shouted desperately to his captors. None honored him with a response. At last, he came up with a plan to preserve her life—at least for the moment. As the crossbow bolt was discharged, Sir Christopher leapt in front of it, taking the arrow in the region of the chest. The enemy was stunned as the gallant knight collapsed to the floor.
“Christopher, why?” his wife managed to gasp out through a deluge of tears.
“Greater love hath no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He struggled for breath, and when he had finished this speech, every word of which was an unspeakable burden to utter, he died. The dark knights stood stupefied. This was so contrary to their idea of “survival of the fittest.”
Wow, I thought as I closed the book momentarily. I imagined myself doing that for my wife, who was in the distant future. What a spectacular example of love, and it would really twist the nose of the bad guys.
“You need to wash the dishes now!” my mom called.
“Coming,” I said reluctantly as I slammed the book shut.
Why do I have to do something as useless as washing dishes? They’ll just get dirty again anyway. Why can’t I do important stuff, you know, like the author of that book? That’s something BIG for God, not like dishes.
I sulked as I slowly wound my way out to the kitchen. While I ran hot water in the sink, I fumed over this disturbance to my reading all the while.
That night, I regaled my dad with a short, imperfect, and choppy synopsis of the book.
“Wasn’t that neat how the guy just died for his wife? I mean, now that’s sacrificial love!”
My father smiled. “Yes,” he agreed, “that is a good example of laying down one’s life for his friends.” Then he changed the topic. “Your mother tells me that you were reluctant to do the dishes. And delayed obedience is the same as disobedience.”
I was caught red-handed.
“But, Dad,” I began, then couldn’t think of anything else to say in my defense.
“Do you realize,” my father continued, “that washing the dishes for your mother is laying down your life just as much as that fictitious knight did?” He reached for his Bible and flipped through the thin gilded pages. They made a pleasant rustle, but at last he stopped. “Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:31,‘I die daily.’ This is not literal, but instead refers to the crucifixion of the selfish desires, which is a battle we must fight every day.”
“So, I just have to give up everything I want to do?” I retorted.
“Not exactly,” my father countered swiftly. “But it does mean that you should help others before thinking of what you want.”
My father ended the conversation, challenging me by saying, “Why don’t you try laying down your life tomorrow? Then, you’ll be doing the same thing as that knight.”
Well, I decided to follow my father’s advice. That morning before starting, I prayed that God would help me as I tried to lay down my life. I washed the dishes cheerfully, without being asked. When I had finished, I sat down and opened my book. “Where was I?” I muttered. It was then that my little sister had a problem with pressing flowers. The stack of books fell down and made a horrific noise, scattering books and flowers all over the place.
“Would you help her?” my mom called, with her hands deep in breading chicken. So, I shut my book and stuffed her flowers back into the dictionary, under the monumental pile of other books. Then I helped her cut some more flowers and press those, too. When everything was arranged to her satisfaction, I plopped on the couch and opened the book. But, my little brother decided that he wanted me to play Monopoly, or, more precisely, he wanted someone different to hammer with his real estate smarts. I complied, and he pummeled me, winning with over $20,000. “That was fun!” he said. I had a slight difference of opinion, but did not bother to voice it.
Well, it would bore you if I was to tell everything I did that day, but I could put it into a single sentence which gives you the point. Every time I sat down to read, I needed to help someone with something. I was tempted many times to feel sorry for myself, but I rejected that idea with God’s help.
That night, I had a hard time sleeping, so I went over the day in review.
I didn’t get a lot of time to read, but I did lay down my life, just like my dad challenged me. And, I thought, maybe this is harder than taking a crossbow arrow, or a bullet, for someone you love. After all, you can only die once, but you have to deny your own selfishness multiple times in a day, every day. So possibly, I did something harder than that knight in the story. I yawned and rolled over. Maybe I should write a story about laying down your life every day. Yes, that’s it…zzz.