Renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) left an unusual last will and testament. Because he found English spelling rules unnecessarily confusing (which they are!), he requested that the United Kingdom adopt a phonetic alphabet he had created to simplify things. He even left a large portion of his estate to implement the plan. Schoolchildren would have been forever grateful to Shaw, but alas, the courts deemed the request “impossible.” The money went to other causes.

Jesus didn’t write a last will and testament; He lived one. Nowhere is this more evident than in the 24 hours leading up to His crucifixion. In the upper room the night before His death, Jesus taught His disciples servant-leadership by washing their feet (John 13:1-17). During the Last Supper He gave them instructions, warnings, and comfort (John 14:1–16:33) and promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide them (John 16:13-15). He prayed for them (John 17:1-26), and for us too, declaring, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message” (John 17:20).

Even as He hung on the cross, Christ directed His last bit of energy to serve others. Seeing His anguished mother with John, He said, “Dear woman, here is your son” (John 19:26). And to John He said, “Here is your mother” (John 19:27). This was no frantic attempt to cram as much into His brief life as possible. Jesus was simply taking the next measured step in a life defined by service and sacrifice.

George Bernard Shaw chose not to follow God even to his death. In contrast, Jesus focused His life on doing the will of His heavenly Father to the very end. By giving up His life, Christ gave hope and a future to anyone who believes in Him.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: James 2:1-13