In May 2016, a teacher was eating at a restaurant with his wife when he saw a man attack a waitress with a knife. George Heath left his wife’s side and leapt into action—running at the attackers and wrapping his arms around him in an effort to keep the man from hurting anyone else. Heath’s efforts to protect the others in the restaurant proved successful. He was able to detain the suspect until police arrived. Sadly, however, the brave teacher died just minutes later. A stab wound during his heroic rescue attempt led to his death.

George Heath laid his life down for others in the restaurant that day. Heath’s wife later stated that this courageous behavior was typical of him. He often engaged in acts of everyday heroism.

As I think about this brave teacher, I’m reminded of what the greatest Teacher once told His disciples. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Jesus consistently modeled self-giving love to His disciples. He freely shared His life as if it wasn’t His own, culminating in His ultimate sacrifice on the cross (John 19:16-18).

We lay down our lives for others and demonstrate our love for them when we actively seek their good in big and little ways. It might even require that we lose our physical lives as George Heath did. But the key is to die to ourselves every day, laying down our lives following Jesus’ example. Not only did He give us the perfect model to follow, He also provides the strength and perseverance we need to live it out.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 Samuel 17:32-58