a devotional by Andrew Fischer
We just celebrated Memorial Day, where we honor the men and women who have died serving our country. For me, this sometimes involves attending a formal ceremony, but always involves thanking God for all the people who sacrificed their lives to protect my freedoms. What a blessing it is that I don't have to physically defend myself against armed enemies! And although I can never thank these heroes directly during my life, I can live in a manner worthy of the price they paid. For example, I can respect our military, perform my civic duties, and simply enjoy the freedoms they purchased with their blood. Of course, another hero also comes to mind.
Jesus Christ sacrificed His life to serve all of humanity. However, He had a more baffling mission than our fallen soldiers. Our soldiers gave up their lives for people who were like-minded, but Jesus gave up His life for people who wanted nothing to do with Him. Paul points this out to the Romans saying that "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (5:8). Jesus paid the ultimate price by shedding His blood and taking a sinner's punishment when He was actually sinless. Jesus served us by paying the debt we could never pay and by creating an opportunity for us to fix our eternal relationship with our Creator. Talk about a hero!
Heroes deserve honor, and Jesus is no exception. In the same way we celebrate Memorial Day for fallen military members, we celebrate Easter for our slain and risen Savior. But our responses should be more than just celebration on one day out of the year. His gift should change our mindset every day. After all, we don't have to work to earn salvation. Rather, Jesus loves us and gave us salvation for free. Our attitudes should reflect a "get to" mentality when we act to bring Him glory, not a "have to" mentality. Keeping this attitude all year round is not always easy, especially when we let our circumstances get in the way, but it certainly is one way to honor a hero.