Today is Memorial Day, a time to remember all those who paid the ultimate price in defending our great nation. Sadly, for far too many Americans, it is merely a day that marks the beginning of summer and the end of a three-day weekend.
So . . . what does Memorial Day represent for you?
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)
There is no greater demonstration of love than to lay your life down for another (John 15:13). The freedom we enjoy in this country is not free! It came at great cost to so many. All paid some, and some paid all so that we might live in the greatest country on earth. The men and women from all of our armed forces—and their families also—paid a great price so that every U.S. citizen could enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
How thankful are you for that freedom today? In a Memorial Day speech in 1884, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who would later serve on the United States Supreme Court, said:
“Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death—of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.”
Holmes, who was himself a veteran of the War Between the States, was saying that our brave military men and women, who laid their lives down upon the altar of freedom, would want us to focus on the results of their sacrifice: life . . . and living it to the fullest. This is the best way to honor their sacrifice.
Holmes’ exhortation rings true for those who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior. We remember and proclaim His death every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper. But Jesus has called us to focus on life, not death, and to live a life of abundance for the glory of the Almighty.
I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Are you currently living an abundant life for the glory of God? God never called you to muddle around on the mudflats of life. He has called each believer to soar on wings like eagles and pour ourselves out for something much bigger than a life marked by self-survival, self-centeredness, and self-fulfillment. And we have been given this great privilege because Jesus was willing to lay His life down for us.
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
On this Memorial Day it is right to give thanks for every person who has ever served this great nation, particularly all those brave American soldiers who laid down their lives for our freedom. If you have the opportunity to thank a veteran in person, do it. Yet behind this great temporal blessing is an even greater eternal blessing to keep in the forefront of our thoughts: Jesus paid the ultimate price for sin on our behalf; He gave his life as a ransom for many . . . and He did it because He loves us that much!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!