Happy Memorial Day!! Today is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. I think though, many people just look forward to the 3-Day Weekend and do not really consider that the freedom they enjoy came at a high price! Freedom in NOT free. I just want to say…THANK YOU to all the men and women who have served in the armed forces, and extend my condolences to all the families that are missing someone at the table today as a result of their service in battle. Thank you!
I have a neighbor who is also a great friend that is a firefighter and when I mentioned to him today that it is a shame that firefighters do not have a day of their own to honor their service, do you know what his response was??
“We’re privileged enough to do this job…..one of the best….service to community!”
Wow!! I expected no less of a response from this man who is “on fleeck,” but it really made me think about how remarkable firefighters are…When everyone else is running out of a burning building, fearing for their lives…these brave men and women are running into the blaze! What kind of person places themselves in harm’s way to help those in need? Someone…who has been in a fire and knows all too well the dangers, and in spite of the risks, they go back into the fire to rescue those in peril! Individuals who are courageous and willing to do whatever it takes. Jesus said in John 15:13:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Now that certainly is the ultimate sacrifice! In this post, I want to parallel what firefighters do everyday with what I believe God wants from those who claim Jesus as their Lord and savior. Jesus paid the price for our sins so that we could have eternal life, and in return He asks for us to be “His hands and feet!” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NLT) says,
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.”
Did you catch that? The first part of verse 4 gives us quite an eye-opener, that God “comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” Have you ever thought of it that way? God comforts us so that we will turn around and comfort those in need but in our self-absorbed culture, many people are just focused on their needs and don’t look to extend a hand to those suffering…But there is a very clear directive here, “When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” God does not deliver you from a hardship, a disease or an addiction, only to help you…but expects us to take what He did for us and reach the people who He has placed in our sphere of influence with the same comfort and hope that God poured out on us. Our response to God ought to be not only one of gratitude, but also one of willing submission to go anywhere, and do anything to return the comfort we received. In a recent message called the “The Gift of Interruption,” Holly Furtick made this great point:
“Some of life’s greatest invitations come packaged as interruptions.”
She also quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer that:
“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions.”
Do you allow God to interrupt your day? Do you have room in your schedule to respond to the call to help someone?? This is something that I need to keep in mind as well, when I receive a knock on my door from a neighbor, a text from a friend or a call from a family member who is in need, my first response should be “yes,” now…”what is the question.” Rather than see it as an interruption, I need to see it as an opportunity! Susie Larson made this great statement…
“In those places he [God] rescued us from, He sends us back to rescue others.”
Love that! Just like firefighters who go back into the fire to rescue people, God wants us to go back into the dark places that He rescued us from to help guide those who are suffering and shine the light of Jesus into their hopeless circumstance. Galatians 5:13 (NLT) says,
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”
Just like we talked about taking Memorial Day for granted, we should never take the freedom Jesus provided for us on the cross for granted! Colossians 1:13-14 (NLT) reminds,
“For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”
And we certainly should never allow the busyness of life to stop from helping others in need. So if God has delivered you from an addiction, look to help others with theirs. If your marriage has been revitalized or resurrected then look for a way to walk alongside others in their marriage, whether that be one on one or participation in a class. If God has healed you of a disease, look for ways to encourage and bring hope into the lives of people suffering. And if you do, Proverbs 11:25 (NLT) give this motivation…
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
I will close this thought from Liz Curtis Higgs, who said,
“God often does the counter cultural thing. He does what we don’t expect. He does what we sometimes don’t even want. There are things God asks us to do that are so hard that it has to be God.”
It may be uncomfortable to have a conversation with someone struggling with an addiction, or you may feel unequipped to counseling a couple struggling in their marriage, or you may not want to relive your painful experience by walking with someone with a disease. But ultimately, that is the very purpose that God in mind when He rescued you out of the fire, so that you would go back in!!