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Acts 20:24

Acts 20:24
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Dear God, I’ve never thought about this verse in terms of Memorial Day before, but it’s the verse of the day on Bible Gateway so perhaps someone there did. It is still so tragic to me that for thousands and thousands of years, what I’m sure numbers into the billions, people have died fighting each other. You’re born, your parents put uncountable hours into caring for you, you spend uncountable hours learning and growing, and then your life is gone. Just gone.

So many people have died nobly for their country or a cause. In the case of what we honor with this day, women and men of our country saw their earthly lives end to fight for whatever we felt was right at the time. The sacrifice they gave, and that their families gave, is immeasurable. I’ve said before that I tend to have a guilty feeling on days like this because I never served in the military. I admire veterans so much for even the sacrifice they made to take time from a civilian life to serve so that I could live my civilian life.

Of course, there is a spiritual aspect to this passage because that is what Paul was talking about. He knew that he was going to put himself at risk for his faith and what you were calling him to do. As it turned out, he was right. He was arrested. He was imprisoned for years. He ultimately died. But that sacrifice of his life ended up being the catalyst for the spread of Christianity to the West. He considered his life worth nothing to him. Had he considered it worth something–had he given in to the temptation those around him were making to him and not gone to Jerusalem, I might not be sitting here praying to you today.

Father, help me to consider my own life worth nothing to me. Help me to only consider the call you have given me. Help me to hear your still small voice. Help me to not let the sacrifice of Paul, the veterans who died, or even Jesus be in vain. Do it all so that your kingdom will come and your will will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2019 in Acts

 

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Emails to God – My Memorial Day Confession

I had the privilege of speaking to the “Choose Life” Sunday school class at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church this morning. The teacher asked me to speak about Memorial Day and oure responsibility of service given the freedoms given to us. As I tried to put together some thoughts, I found that other emotions were coming out. I finally ended up writing down my thoughts. Below is what I read to the class as part of my presentation. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to ever veteran and their family for what you have done for all of us.

I am always a little uncomfortable on Memorial Day. I grew up a privileged child. While I wasn’t born into a wealthy family, by the time I graduated from high school we were a family of wealth. My father could afford to send me to college so I never had to consider serving in the military as one of my career options. I know that there are people of means who choose the military anyway out of a sense of calling or duty, but that wasn’t me. I thought of it as too limiting. Perhaps even beneath me. “I could do better.”

I was 31 when September 11 happened and young enough to join the military at that time, but, in all honesty, the cost was too high. I had a wife, two young children, and a career. People hated us and were trying to kill us in a fairly random fashion, but I let others fight that battle for me and my family. There seemed to be enough people to do it. The government wasn’t making a special plea for men of my age to join. They just wanted to make sure I kept shopping. That was my out and I took it.

There are many times throughout the year when I feel embarrassed about my having never served in the military.

  • When I went once to greet the Wounded Warriors who were visiting Fredericksburg from BAMC. I couldn’t even bring myself to go forward and shake their hands. My embarrassment kept me in the back of the crowd, applauding but trying to be unnoticed. I could visibly see their sacrifice and it humiliated me.
  • When I’m at any event where they recognize veterans by asking them to stand up. I always feel ashamed when I remain seated.
  • When I am talking with a veteran who served in some conflict (whether it be Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, or even during peacetime). They sometimes ask if I served and my answer is an embarrassed no.
  • When I am at a military funeral and they give the family a flag and give the deceased full military honors. I know my funeral won’t have anything like that.
  • When I see the lists of soldiers who have died fighting overseas. I am glad when news programs run these lists, but I always have the sense of guilt as I watch the names go by and I think of the life that was prematurely lost.
  • When I see friends from high school on Facebook who served overseas in the Middle East (Angelo, I’m thinking of you). I am reluctant to even message them because I am humbled by their sacrifice.

So should I feel embarrassed and ashamed? Would the women and men getting off of the bus from BAMC care if they knew I never served? Would they wonder why I wasn’t by their side while they were over there, or would they simply just want to know how I am using the life they helped to provide for me?

What about God? Does he care that I didn’t serve in the military, or does He simply just want to know how I am using the life that He helped to provide for me?

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Musings and Stories

 

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