There is no greater love than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
Sacrifice. We’re all called to it in one way or another, but I believe that men are specifically wired for it.
For me personally, this is the quality of a man that touches me the most…
As a young boy, the scenarios played out in my differently than they do now. I would imagine myself driving a burglar out of the house, or beating up a guy who stole a girl’s purse. But now, having grown beyond childish fantasy and realized the reality of my duty as a man… the thought of giving my life for something… what would it be? A day rarely passes that I don’t think about it.
Will I die in an explosion saving a woman and her child from a car engulfed in flames? Will I throw myself in front of a truck to save a child playing in the street? Will I die protecting my family from an intruder in my home? Will I take a bullet to the head while standing between a sick thug and the woman he intended to rape? Will I give away the last parachute or life ring? The last piece of bread? The last ounce of water? Will I freeze to death having given away my last piece of warm clothing?
Will I sing songs of praise as I am burned alive for refusing to deny the One who endured far worse for me…….?
Do these questions scare me? No. I would give anything to die like that… To die so that someone else might live… the thought shakes me and sends tears streaming down my face. But more than that, so much more than that, I want to die a martyr. To die for the overwhelming love of Christ, and the honor of bearing His Name and image; to be counted “among whom the world was not worthy”… I can’t even imagine… That would be dying well.
For me, some things are easier on a larger scale. Like speaking: I would feel far more comfortable standing on a stage in front of 5,000 people than 10. It’s the same with sacrifice. I know beyond a doubt that if my life were required in an emergency to save someone else that God would give me the strength to surrender it. If a grenade dropped into the middle of my squad, you better believe that I would drop and wrap that thing in my arms against my chest to save them. Yet somehow I lack the motivation to die to myself daily and live for Christ and others in the small things. To read my Bible and pray: what am I really giving up? Forty five minutes of sleep? There are thousands who would give their lives for a page of that Book, and I treat it like watching C-Span - boring, monotonous information.
My sister asks if I’ll play with her. My excuse? I don’t have one. I usually make something up. I more or less lie to her because 10 minutes of Legos is more than I can handle, even though I know very well that just ten minutes would make her week!
I suppose it’s my long-term vision taking priority over my short-term choices and investments. It’s a weakness.
What would you consider the greatest thing you could die for? You faith? Your wife and kids? If you say that you’re willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for your Savior - your life - are you not willing to give up anything less important? Your thoughts, your dreams, your anxiety? Your time?
If you say that you’re willing to surrender your life for your family’s sake, are you not willing to surrender your pride, your rights, and your comfort for their benefit also?
You show me a man who can lay down his pride for his faith and family, and I’ll show you a man who will not hesitate to lay down his life, also.
These are heavy questions, and I need to weigh them as well. I’ll not be getting sleep tonight.