Friday, April 6, 2012

To Die Well...


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.
~ 2:12am

11 comments:

  1. I have to ask, in this statement, "We’re all called to it in one way or another, but I believe that men are specifically wired for it," are specifically referring to the male sex vs. the female sex, or mankind in a general sense?

    If I am right in inferring from the context that you are referring to the male sex, on what do you base your reasons?

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    1. I believe when he said "men" he was referring to a particular kind of sacrifice that God has wired into men as their duty - women and children first. It's their role as protector. Look at the Titanic.

      If we're talking about the broader aspect of sacrificing for God (our time or our life), that is a call made to all people with no distinction of gender.

      I think. Maybe I shouldn't have answered a question that wasn't asked me...

      Josh: Thought-provoking post. Living for God often doesn't seem grand or thrilling - as would dying for him be - and one is rarely given honor for it. Hmm.
      Oh, and did you have any idea Mr. Sleadd would be speaking about dying well? :)

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  2. Reluctant Dragon (aka, Sophia): Yes, Ariel got it exactly right. I couldn't have said it better (or more concisely). Thank you for asking that clarifying question. :)

    AO: please DO answer questions posed on my blog. I would encourage anyone to do so. I'm mostly just thinking out loud in my posts, and when someone asks me a question, I may or may not know the answer; OR I may miss something important that someone else might observe.

    I had no idea! That was pretty cool. :D

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  4. I never knew you, but I sure wish I did. You were a beautiful human being who poured his heart into what you did. Your blog just screams passion. I pray that your musings will inspire more people, like myself.

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  5. You didn't stop a bullet, you didn't beat up a burglar, you didn't give away the last parachute, you did something more.

    You lived like a man, and though you may not have saved lives, you have changed lives.

    You sacrificed in a way that maybe you don't understand. That maybe a lot of people don't understand.

    You did something far more than heroic, you lived for Christ, and people will never be the same after what you did in their lives.

    Thank you, from a bystander, from a person who has felt the distant ripple of blessing you have sent. I may never have known you in person, but I know you as a fellow brother in Christ, and as one in fellowship of Spirit.

    I look forward to the day where I can shake your hand and say, "thank you."

    God Bless you.

    -Jacob Clifton

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  6. Josh, this post has touched so many lives in the past 2 days. I've had multiple people tell me that it's changed their life and challenged them like never before. Thank you, for the life you lived and for following Christ in everything. You died well. I can't wait to see you in heaven! :')

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  7. I just realized this post was made on my birthday. Oh, so strange...Josh, we miss you so much. Thank you for setting the standard, raising the bar for all of us to reach for. May we run well the race that is set before us.

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  8. Josh: You wished to die to save lives, but I'm sure that more lives will be saved by the life that you lived than by your death. God had more in store for you than to die to save someone's life physically. He planned your life that it could save others for eternity, something no one could have imagined.

    Your life inspires mine and many others. You truly died well, and I can't wait when we meet in heaven.

    Thank you,

    Nathan Tasker.

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  9. I didn't know you, Josh, but I look forward to meeting you in heaven some day. How difficult this time must be for those who loved you. I will be praying for them and rejoicing in the fact you had a heart for others and opened your heart through this blog. God bless your ongoing legacy.

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  10. Valid thoughts and pressing reality. Sometimes it's easier to be the hero in a moment... a real hero is measured over a lifetime. Great job.

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