Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Today, on Veterans Day, we honor all of those who serve in the United States Armed Forces.
This morning, at the Arlington National Cemetery, a Veterans Day National Ceremony will take place where a wreath is placed at the Tomb of the Unknowns by a color guard made up of members from each of the military services.
While those who have passed away are certainly remembered on this day, Veterans Day is primarily intended to thank those Veterans who are still living for their time in service to America. In fact, it is said that today there are over 24 million Veterans who have served and reintegrated back into society. And I hope for both of us, if we know one of these men or women, that we will thank them today.
Veterans are probably some of the first people we think of when considering those who serve others or have jobs that cause them to sacrifice in some way in their lives. I also think many of us would agree that you could count firefighters, teachers and missionaries in that category as well.
But perhaps we should also consider others who serve today—the ones behind the scenes and the unsung heroes of our lives, if you will.
I’m sure you know of someone in your life who has greatly impacted you with his or her selfless acts of kindness and service. Perhaps it’s a parent or a friend, a neighbor or someone at your workplace. Whoever they are, they stand out to you because they don’t call attention to themselves. Their actions are what speak loudest, because they are living for something—and for Someone—greater than themselves.
Two women in Scripture who exemplify these kind of “undercover” people who serve are Lois and Eunice, who were Timothy’s grandmother and mother respectively. Paul acknowledges them for their significant work in Timothy’s life in his letter to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5:
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
And then later on in chapter 3, verses 14 and 15 he also says to Timothy:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
We don’t often call out Lois and Eunice as great heroes of the faith when we talk about examples from Scripture, do we? But these few verses point to the very important sacrifices they made in their lives to make sure that Timothy was taught the Word. They were faithful in service to God, as they gave what had been entrusted to them—the gift of God’s Word—to Timothy, so he would, in turn, be equipped to share the Truth in service to God and others.
On the surface, this sounds like an easy way to serve. But when was the last time you sat down with someone, day after day, month after month, year after year and worked with them in their spiritual growth and development? It’s a sobering thought. Because it requires the sacrifice of our time, our desires and our very lives.
Veterans or not, those who serve are all around us today. So let’s give thanks for them all and for the difference God has made in our lives through those who he has led to serve.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
As you give thanks for those who have served America today, take inventory of how you are serving others. What sacrifices is God asking you to make so that you can demonstrate his love and make an eternal difference in the life of someone else?