Today is Memorial Day, a day to remember all those who have paid the ultimate price in defending our great nation. Sadly, for far too many Americans, it is nothing more than a day that marks the beginning of summer and the end of a three-day weekend.
How is it with you? What does Memorial Day represent for you?
Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
To be sure, there is no greater demonstration of love than to lay your life down for another. The freedom we enjoy in this country is not free! It came at great cost to a great many. All paid some . . . some paid all . . . so that we might live in the greatest country on earth. Our military men and women from all of our armed services, as well as their families, 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?
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said this in a Memorial Day speech in 1884 prior to his appointment to the bench:
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 was telling us that our brave military men and women who paid the ultimate price would want us to focus on the results of their sacrifice: life — “the great chorus of life and joy”– and living that life to the fullest. This is the best way to honor their sacrifice.
The very same instruction is true for those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We remember and proclaim His death when we partake of the Lord’s Supper, but Jesus has called us to live a life of abundance and joy for the glory of the Almighty.
I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Is that abundant life what you are currently living 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 to pour ourselves out for something far greater than a life marked by self-survival, self-centeredness, and self-fulfillment. And we have been given this great opportunity and privilege because Jesus was willing to lay His life down for us.
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)
Today it is right to give thanks for every person who has ever served this great nation, and in particular, for all those brave American soldiers who laid down their lives for our freedom. If you have the opportunity of thanking a soldier in person, do it. But never forget that behind this magnificent temporal blessing we have received from them, there is an even greater eternal blessing we receive thanks to the ultimate price Jesus paid on our behalf on a cross on a hill known as The Skull. “He died for us so that . . . we may live together with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:10).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT…AMEN!