PUTTING IT ALL ON THE LINE
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words
remain in you, ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you. John 15:5-7
Today as we get ready to celebrate a day of freedom for our country, I want to take a minute and share about three different people that were willing to put it all on the line. If you have never heard that expression, let me quickly give you a life lesson. When we talk about putting everything on the line, it comes to the point in our lives and in our spiritual journey that we are willing to sacrifice it all in hopes of helping another. It is an attitude that is not easy to obtain, but one that comes with a heart of humility and a spirit filled with sacrifice. It is an awareness that others come first and we are willing to do anything that we can to love our neighbor, even when we have no name, face or image. For many of your parents they have probably had a time where they have either received benefit or chosen to put everything on the line in hopes of a promise for a better tomorrow. There have been people, none of us know, that fight for the freedom we have today and they have paid for that freedom with the ultimate price of their lives. In the midst of all of the uncertainty of today, I am asking that we pray and consider the different people that have put it all on the line so that we can enjoy the lives we have today.
Read this poem by Luke Moore entitled Pride: He follows in footsteps over a hundred years trod But when he closes each day no one will applaud. No glory in the work he chooses to follow. Just hope that once again he’ll wake up tomorrow. His job spells danger, each hour, every day. Hot wire, high places, still knows no other way. Up one pole and down again, just like the rest. He knows his job well, some say he’s the best. First he tried school like his siblings had been, But his hand fit a spud wrench better than a pen. He thought a few times
about leaving the trade. Then realized dragging up would cut like a blade. Some men do it for money, others just make a living. But he knows no sure reason, why his gift he’s been
given. By sight you would think he’s a much older man. Gray hair, bowed legs, rough skin, callused hands. But in his trade it’s not years that mark the lineman’s age. For hard work and hard miles turn his every page. Every day in his hooks is another he tempts fate. His name is unsung, but his importance is great. For when the power is out, to the ground the lines fall. No doctor, no lawyer, or accountant gets the call. But you can count on this lineman through sleet, snow, or rain. He’s tired and he’s hungry yet he’ll never complain. Though you may never meet him while he works in the long hour. It’s to him you owe thanks for restoring the power. And if you’re to meet him keep one thing in mind. To look deep inside only pride you will find. Pride in his job, and the work that he does. Pride in himself and the linework he loves. As we put all things on the line, it was my intent to draw the parallel story of the lineman to sacrifice. I know that there are others that are willing to put it all on the line, but I wanted to share the story of one we may not truly see or recognize if we pass them each day, but we appreciate their sacrifice even though their work may never be seen.
As we look at the scripture for today, Jesus is helping us to see what it means to put in all on the line. As he is talking to His disciples, he expresses that there truly is a difference of what we do for ourselves and what we are willing to sacrifice for others. So many times when we look in the mirror we only see the person in front of us. Jesus is helping us to look beyond ourselves and see how we are connected through Him to the Father. Jesus is reemphasizing the fact that He is the main line that is connecting us to God. We are an extension of the Gospel and we have to be willing to sacrifice our self for the hopes of others connecting with God. It stops being about us and starts being more about God. The real pain comes from looking at the results if we are not willing to connect with God or if others are unwilling to connect with God. It is a simple end result. If anyone is disconnected from God, they will wither and die and be thrown into the fire. We are to do our best to help others experience this freedom, even if it may one day cost us everything. Let's look at the second person that in humility is willing to put it all on the line for each one of us.
As we truly celebrate our freedom each day, I am proud to continue to pray and fight for the men and women who continue to give their lives for my freedom. Now, also understand that they are fighting for all of our freedom, but today I need us each to personalize the sacrifice. We need to look at it from a personal standpoint in order to truly realize the full meaning of what it means to each of us. When we are able to put it on a personal level, we are able to truly focus on the meaning of the gift of freedom we individually receive. As each soldier is standing on the frontline, they do not carry our names in their pocket, but they have vowed to
give the ultimate sacrifice in their hearts for the freedoms that we enjoy. For each person they are proud to be deployed and to leave their families not knowing if they will return. They know this when they put their names on the line in hopes of securing the world for you and for me. It doesn't matter which branch in which they serve, they are all connected through their call and will faithfully defend the honor and freedoms of the United States of America. It is not the easiest job, and just like the lineman, they fail to receive the true honor they deserve. But once again they do not do it for a paycheck or the recognition, but for the duty of God, Family and Country.
As I close this blog today, I would be remiss if I did not talk about the first lineman. The first person that was willing to sacrifice it all in order that we may live a life and live it more abundantly. The one who was willing to come and give us a choice for freedom, even though we were willing to turn our backs as soon as things got tough. A person that was willing to sacrifice His place in heaven and live through all hell in order that we could just have a choice. See putting it all on the line many times looks a lot different than what we may think. For many of us, we are willing to give only until it becomes inconvenient. For many of us we are willing to get involved only when our personal freedoms are interrupted. But I hope and pray that you will see that phrase in a different way from this day forward. I pray that you will
realize that it is a personal daily decision to want to give to others regardless of what it may cost you in the end. I mean it may cost you every friend you have. It may cost you every position you have ever had. It may cost you losing it all in order to truly gain it all. It becomes an attitude that is fulfilled with every breath that we take. I know we said this a few days ago, but it is really a mentality that we must decrease that God may increase in us. We must become less and see things in a way that is capable of leading others to Jesus. It may mean that we never again are recognized for what we do, but it matters more that others are able to be connected to the vine. When it becomes less about us and more about sacrificing for others, then we know that we are finally standing along side God as a lineman. Thank God for those who do the jobs that give us the freedom to live each day.
Fast forward past the 2 minute premiere countdown.