So much is on my mind today as we celebrate the people who have served our country in our behalf. Each of us probably knows of several people who served, from parents and grandparents to siblings, friends, spouses, children, etc.
Regardless of the war in which they served, they all put their lives on the line for us, and they all did something of which most of us have no concept.
I spent 18 months as a missionary in Ecuador when I was 19 years old, and that was an amazing experience (to be written about some other time), but my life was never on the line, and I knew the date and time I was coming home…and that I would be going home on my own two feet.
These men and women do not have the same luxuryt I had.
Each moment could be their last, and they have no idea when they will be coming home.
Service is a funny thing. Most of us would not think twice about serving a friend, visiting a loved one in the hospital, or taking a meal to a sick friend. That comes naturally. Being served, receiving service, on the other hand, is so tough.
Why is that? Why do we jump at the first chance to serve, but when it comes to being the one to receive service, most of us react with “Nah, I’m okay. I am fine, I don’t need anything” and comments like those.
Is it that we do not want to put others out? We don’t think our plight is as bad as someone else’s? Are we too proud?
I don’t have the answer, because it is different for each of us. What I do know, however, is that in order to serve, it requires someone being willing to be served.
Back to our military.
They give everything to serve us, and to serve their country.
Is it in vain? Do we show gratitude? If you are the praying type like I am, do you get on your knees at night and thank God for their sacrifice, whether they gave their lives, or not, for you?
“Greater love hath no man than he give up his life for his friends.”
Does this mean we need to die for our friends to show our love for them?
To me, it means that we need to be willing to give up our own selfish desires and needs, and be in the service of others.
To truly honor those who have, are, or will serve us, we need to do one thing, and one thing only…show gratitude.
How you show gratitude to those who serve you is completely up to you. I won’t even give any suggestions, other than to simply look for ways to express that gratitude.
One of my best friends is a Marine. He served in the early 90’s in Desert Storm. I thank him every time I see him for his service to me and to our country. I don’t think there is anything I can do for him to serve him the way he has served me, but by expressing my thanks to him, it is honoring what he did for me.
Thanksgiving is coming up…you can feel it in the air. Express gratitude to everyone who has served, or blessed you. That is pretty much everyone.
When we express gratitude for those who serve, and sacrifice, for us, it honors their efforts, and validates what they have done for us. Nothing offends God more than an ungrateful heart, and nothing devalues the service of others more than a lack of gratitude.
My goal today is to say “Thank You” to anyone I know who has served me…miltary or not…it is going to be a busy day!
Happy Veterans Day, and Happy 11/11/11!!!