Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.
The Bible League diary, from which I take my daily texts, has chosen an appropriate reading for today. We all have only one life, and to sacrifice it for another is to lose everything. Even posthumous adulation will give us no personal advantage. That’s not to say we shouldn’t remember them and the sacrifice they made for us. It is beyond measure.
What’s more to the point: what we are doing with the freedom we have gained? When life is prosperous and easy, it’s easy to take it for granted and fritter it away. Those who have had a brush with death appreciate the fragility of life and of making every moment count. Certainly, as we grow old and time left decreases, we may regret time wasted needlessly.
I cannot help but ruminate on the sacrifice most westerners seem unwilling to make in order to maintain the life we have inherited. Significant examples—and not the last I’m sure—Greek riots at austerity measures, French demonstrations against raising retirement to 62, and yesterday’s obnoxious student violence in England at raising tuition rates.
These entitlement demands fly in the face of, not only economic reality, but also the service our fallen gave for our current life standards. Without it, make no mistake, we would be subject to Nazi domination, Communist servitude or, even yet, Islamist cruelty. And without some economic sacrifice on our part, the west could easily slip back into the “dirty thirties.”
It comes down to us personally. What sacrifices are we willing to make to maintain even a remnant of our current prosperity? The life we hand to our children and grandchildren may well hinge on what we are willing to sacrifice for their security. That may be our lives for their freedoms, but more likely a reduced lifestyle for their financial well-being.
The pattern is clearly set by “the Son of Man [who] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)