A SEAT AT THE TABLE
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 1 John 3:16-17
We celebrate each day of our lives without the thought of the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf. I know as a son of a military retiree, it is a life that is truly one of dedication and self-sacrifice. We fail to realize that the very table that we are sitting at each day is one that has been provided by someone who is standing at the borders dedicating their lives for our safety. I know that there are a lot of people who really never think about that sacrifice. No one would unless the freedom was taken away. The only time I have really even thought about us losing our freedom was back in the 80's when the movie Red Dawn came out. It was a story where a military force parachuted into America and tried to take over a part of the country. I watched how immediately freedoms were stripped and the normal lives that they lived were completely changed. it is so hard for many of us to really recognize the sacrifices that are given so that we can have a seat at the table of freedom. We only recognize it when someone is ready to take our freedom away or when someone is directly connected to us has decided to fight that battle on a daily basis.
Just because we are not in the military, it does not mean that we are not a part of the battle for freedom. As we are given this gift freely, we are to provide opportunities to receive the gifts of freedom as well. Just because we have been given a seat at the table, it does not mean that we are not capable of offering others an opportunity to receive and participate in
this freedom. In fact, one of my favorite quotes of scripture comes out pretty relevant here, "To much that has been given, much is required." For the lives and many sacrifices that have been laid down on our behalf, we come each day to celebrate the gift that we honestly could not repay. These are the lives of people many of us will never know and others who will continue to lay down their lives for people they may never meet. I know that there are many others that are on the battle lines as well that are fighting for our freedom of life. I am just saying that many of them have earned their right to be free, and we too have the same obligation to help pass on the same legacy of freedom. Yes, it is a struggle for us all, but there will come a time, if it has not already come, that we will all face the decision to fight for the freedoms that we have been given. It may be in our personal lives, the lives of our friends, or maybe the lives of total strangers. We have been given a seat at the table in order that we can help others find their seats as well. The debt of blood has already paid for the spot, now we just need to make sure the reservation remains available for others that follow behind us.
As we read the words from 1 John today, we are able to recognize the price of freedom that was experienced and passed on through the life of John. We are able to see into his life as he encourages us to see that the gift of freedom is provided for all. And as ones that have received this gift, both physically and spiritually, we are called to lay down our lives for others as well. We do not get the choice to predetermine who this gift will be received by, just like we did not get a choice to decline this freedom. We were called to pass on the story and help others to find freedom from the shackles of life and sin that has weighed them down for so long. We are being asked to be ready when called on to provide whatever others may need because we were given the same gift through the love and life of Christ. We are given so many freedoms that we probably don't deserve because of the many soldiers that believe in the foundational truth of America, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. As Christians, we have been given even a greater task to fulfill because of the sacrifice that was paid on our behalf. We have been able to live a life more abundantly because of the payment Jesus made on the cross. He saw us in our fallen state and felt compassion. He saw us broken and lost and gave up everything so that we could once again have a seat at the table with our Heavenly Father. There are powerful words that we see in John's earlier writings when Jesus said, "NO ONE can come to the Father except through Jesus." Jesus became the bridge to overcome the chasm that was created when sin entered the world, and John is reminding us that if we have been given this gift of freedom, we are to reciprocate the same gift to others who also are in need of experiencing true freedom and grace.
Memorial Day may be only one day or weekend where we stop and remember those that were/are willing to lay down their lives for our freedoms. But I will be honest... I wake up every day and am humbled and thankful for the men and women who serve to give us freedom. I am humbled by the thought of a Savior who left the perfection of heaven and came and died on a cross for ALL of creation. Why? Why are they willing to do something
that seems to cost so much... and it is simple. Because of the love they have in their hearts. It is for the ability that they have to see past the world's definition of people and step in and give back to others for what they received. I know that there are many who may read this today and not like the fact that we are honoring those who went to war for freedom. Yes, it may seem like something that is backwards, but the reality is that ALL of CREATION received a gift that NONE of us deserve and it was given by the Lamb of God so that we could have a seat at the Table of God. The men and women who lay down their lives daily, do so because they believe in freedom and are willing to pay the ultimate price for those who do not believe in them. I see their decision as being so similar to the one that Christ made for us on that day at Golgotha. He was willing to die because He loved us and believed that we deserved to experience grace and freedom. He was willing to lay down His life... to pay the ultimate price, not because we believed in Him, but because He believes in US. The soldiers table is a reminder of all of those who may not make it home, but are willing to sacrifice their lives so that we can have freedom. I pray that we look at the world a little differently today and realize the price that has been paid on our behalf. Thank you is not enough but is a step in the right direction.