Today as we remember our great veterans for their selfless service, what in fact is that…selfless service?
Many leaders when praising our military like to quote John 15:13:
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Does this mean only to die for someone, or does it mean more? I used to think that it was dying only, but I’ve come to realize it means that and to literally lay down my life, to give up my right to myself. Oswald Chambers writes:
“Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him. Peter said—‘I will lay down my life for Thy sake’ and he meant it; his sense of the heroic was magnificent. It would be a bad thing to be incapable of making such a declaration as Peter made; the sense of our duty is only realized by our sense of the heroic. Has the Lord ever asked you—‘Wilt thou lay down thy life for My sake?’ It is far easier to die than to lay down the life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling. We are not made for brilliant moments, but we have to walk in the light of them in ordinary ways.”
Selfless service is what Jesus meant we He said:
“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.’” (Luke 9:23-26)
Am I willing to kill the right to myself every morning and serve Jesus? Am I willing to serve in ordinary ways with a sense of the heroic, all the while knowing that I may never experience brilliant moments?
Yes and yes is required if I am to serve selflessly. I used to tell all my first term enlistees that if they wanted to make the Army a career they had to have a devotion to duty. If they were serving to get something from the Army they would be sadly disappointed and sadly disappointing.
Are you sadly disappointed with your service to Jesus? Is your service to Jesus sadly disappointing?
Perhaps you’re doing so in the hopes of experiencing brilliant moments? If so you are a hypocrite according to Jesus:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:1-4)
The questions I have to ask myself are, “Why am I doing this act of service?” “Do I care if no one ever notices this act of service?” “Will I do this act of service again if no one gives me credit?”
Things that make you go, hmmm?
If all you seek is glory from men, then you will experience those “brilliant moments” but they will not be so bright.
However, if you are seeking a higher calling that is beyond you then you can walk in the light of brilliant moments in ordinary ways.
Our Jesus did.
We should expect nothing less.
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Copyright © 2009 David Jeffers