Objections to the Christian Faith from the Unchurched and De-Churched
Tue Dec 02, 2014
Craig Groeschel: We Innovate for Jesus
Tue Oct 14, 2014
Mark Driscoll: Revelation
Tue Oct 07, 2014
RESURGENCE LEADERSHIP #034: JOHN PIPER, WHY I TRUST THE SCRIPTURES, PART 2
Tue Sep 30, 2014
Resurgence Leadership #033: John Piper, Why I Trust the Scriptures, Part 1
Tue Sep 23, 2014
If Not Me, Then Who?
Memorial Day is a time for honoring those who have given their lives for their nation, and one of the best ways to honor heroes is to learn from them.
It is Memorial Day in the United States: the weekend of sales, the unofficial start of summer, and the day you can apparently start wearing white.
Memorial Day is much more than this, of course, and has been celebrated in some form since the American Civil War. Originally celebrated on May 30th as “Decoration Day,” the holiday was inspired by the way people honored fallen soldiers by decorating their graves. Memorial Day honors and remembers those who have died in battle serving the United States in war.
Learn from the heroes
In this season, people regularly ask how they can honor those who have given their lives. I suggest one of the best ways to remember our nation’s fallen heroes is to learn from them.
Learn from a young First Lieutenant named Travis Manion, who, when asked why he would risk his life and fight in faraway lands, gave a simple answer: “If not me, then who?”
Travis was later killed in Iraq’s Al Anbar province fighting as a hero. He was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery. Repeat his words to yourself quietly and ponder the implications:
“If not me, then who?”
His servant spirit sounds similar to Isaiah’s commissioning as a prophet to the people of Israel recorded in Isaiah 6:8: “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’”
With a great hope in Christ, how can we not lay all on the line for the sake of our family and community?
Isaiah isn’t given a glorious task that will bring him greatness in his day, yet he goes. This kind of response is foreign in our culture. Like Isaiah’s response, Travis’ words are a contemporary illustration of what it means to leave at a great cost. Memorial Day is a time when we can learn from the few who have answered the call to leave and serve, even at a great cost to themselves.
The cost of serving
Learning is an important part of remembering. We can and must learn from our heroes. Their answer to a call, faithful service, and willingness to shoulder the responsibility to serve their nation teaches us about what it means to die to self.
The lessons we learn from those who have died is taught day after day, month after month, and year after year if we listen to the lives of those left behind. We learn what “gone” really means when we see the same loving and hurting family gather and honor their loved ones year after year. They grow old, cherish the memories, and remember, because loss and sacrifice are not only instantaneous but are experienced by those left behind for a lifetime.
Memorial Day is a time when we can learn from the few who have answered the call to leave and serve, even at a great cost to themselves.
As an Army Chaplain, I have learned so much from the men and women I have served and served with. In my short time I have had the privilege to honor the sacrifice of faithful men and women. These warriors and their tough families who bear the weight of separation and loss have displayed unimaginable courage. A knock on the door can change everything. I have delivered the news, heard it over the phone, and watched it happen in front of me. I have been taught so much.
Watching this, I have learned about my own call to Christ. My call was not just an event, but is best described as a death to myself, a daily leaving to follow Jesus. At times this is painful, because following Jesus means serving others even at a personal cost. I may not be asked to literally give my life, but I may be called to sacrifice comfort, finances, or safety. I have learned firsthand and gained perspective on that small sacrifice from those we will honor today, Memorial Day.
Jesus empowers us
Sacrifice can produce anxiety and fear in us. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ suffered, died, and was raised. He is the example and the answer to the questions of why and how.
Following Jesus means serving others even at a personal cost.
I can go, leave, and be obedient to the point of death like Christ because he was raised. His resurrection gives me hope now and in a realized future. I can sacrifice all because he has sacrificed all for me and given me everything. He is “with me to the end of this age” (Matt. 28:20).
With a great hope in Christ, how can we not lay all on the line for the sake of our family and community? The weight of sacrifice is great, but the victory of Jesus is greater (1 Cor. 15:54–58). Because of this great hope and the lessons I have learned from a faithful few, I can always answer the call with, “Here am I! Send me”—because, “If not me, then who?”