A few days ago, I found myself sitting in a quiet waiting room with my kids. While they were playing with the toy set in the room, my eyes fell upon a small picture of a Marine. The young man sat in his dress uniform, his face giving just a hint of a steely smile. His knees and lower legs were exposed, revealing two prosthetic legs. Beneath his picture, the caption read, “Regrets? No, Mr. President, none that I can think of.”
This Marine had two well-functioning limbs taken from his body in the course of fighting in the war. Can you imagine living without the legs you were born with? Instead of sulking in bitterness or succumbing to depression, he expresses no regrets in such a loss.
People like that Marine—military personnel, law enforcement officers, first responders—run toward the danger everyone else is trying to escape. They risk death or injury to help those who cannot help themselves. While there may be some who do it for the glory and honor, many are motivated by a genuine desire to serve.
Their attitude says, “My life (and even limb) for yours.”
When asked, “Would you die for someone you love?” most would answer affirmatively. If you ask a Christian, “Would you die for Christ?” you will again get a hearty “yes!” And yet, how often do we fail to sacrifice our little wants, needs, and desires for our loved ones, our neighbors, and our God? How often do we put ourselves ahead of others? How often do we put ourselves ahead of others?
We make much ado about dying for someone while in the same moment refusing to live for them. Our sacrifices should not be limited to “the ultimate sacrifice,” but should also consist of putting our needs in second place.
When we have a choice between going to worship God and spending a day by the lake, what do we choose?
When a friend asks us to help them move on Saturday morning after we’ve put in a grueling week’s work, do we leave them hanging?
When our child demands our attention for the hundredth time, do we put down our phones and give them our full attention, or do we sigh in exasperation?
When our spouse asks us for help, do we grumble, or do we eagerly rush to their side the way we did when our love was new?
Instead of sighing in exasperation, say to yourself,“My life for yours.”
Instead of groaning in irritation, whisper, “My life for yours.”
Instead of angry words, think, “My life for yours.”
During His earthly life, Jesus heard many demands:
“Heal my child!”
“Help me see!”
“Feed us more bread!”
“I know you’re praying, but could you come help us out?”
Jesus helped everyone who asked Him, often addressing their physical need while teaching a spiritual lesson. Every single time, His words and manner reflected the sentiment, “My life for yours.”
If anyone in the history of the world deserved to be served, it was Jesus.
Jesus, God in human form, deserved riches, blessings, honor, and glory from every person on earth.
If anyone in the history of the world deserved to be served, it was Jesus.However, in the scriptures, we do not see Him demanding the best food, the costliest treasures, or the grandest accommodations; we see Him putting the needs of others ahead of His own. He prayed for hours for His disciples, taught scores of people, and patiently answered all the “ridiculous” questions.
In ways both big and small, Jesus’ attitude spoke, “My life for yours.”
Paul said it best in Philippians 2.3-8:
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus calls us to imitate Him.
He calls us to lay down our wants, our desires, our needs, and yes—our very life—in service to Him.
Are we humble enough to say, “My life for yours”?
Are we courageous enough to live, “My life for yours”?