It’s easy with the normal hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives to simply look at Memorial Day as a day to have some friends over, fire up the grill, relax and just enjoy a day NOT at work. Even when we consider what the holiday commemorates we often mistake it for another Veterans Day. As a veteran, I can tell you I do appreciate when someone takes the time to thank me for my service on Veterans Day but on Memorial Day, while I still do very much appreciate it, the day really isn’t about me.
The veterans we celebrate on Memorial Day are the embodiment of John 15:13.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
What I love about this particular verse is it truly describes the heart of our U.S. Military members. If you read this verse in the context of the chapter it paints an awesome picture of how those who serve in the military model the love of Christ.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other. ~John 15:9-17
Jesus says, “Love each other in the way that I have loved you”.
So how did Jesus love us?
He loved us to death – Literally. He loved us so much that He sacrificed His life to give us freedom, freedom from our sins. He saved us from eternal death by dying in our place.
The men and women who sign on the dotted line and raise their hand to take the oath of service understand they may be called one day to pay for our freedom with their life. They do this out of a sense of duty, service, and love. Their love of our country, what it represents, the freedoms it provides and its citizens calls them to put their lives on the line to defend it and protect you against the evil in the world. They do this knowing it could end in death – many times a very painful and grueling death.
The veterans we celebrate this Memorial Day were called and they responded. They showed us all the greatest love, just as Christ did. They “produced lasting fruit” by defending freedom and allowing it to ring loudly in our great nation.
If you know a family that has lost someone in service of our country, I encourage you to call them, thank them for their sacrifice and lift them up in prayer. Also, before you fire up the grill and ice down the drinks, take a moment to lift up a prayer of thanks for all those who died in defense of our freedom and also lift up their families who are living on without them.
Happy Memorial Day!
Be blessed my friends!