In a 2010 Afghanistan firefight, William “Kyle” Carpenter ran towards a hand grenade to shield another marine, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio, from the blast. The impact cost Kyle his eye and lower jaw. His lung collapsed and many of his bones shattered. He was labeled dead as he arrived at the field hospital and nearly died a second time at Walter Reed Medical Center. Countless surgeries and two and a half years of rehabilitation in a hospital, Kyle lived to be awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. Kyle refuses to let the enemy stop him. He says, in the defense video which can be seen below, “The enemy killed me. I came back, ran a marathon, completed a mud run, and jumped from a plane. I won’t ever quit. I am just getting started,”
This week as we celebrate and honor our veteran’s, I am grateful to Kyle, and every military person who has fought for our great country to maintain our freedom. It is obvious by reading about Kyle and watching his video not only what Kyle is willing to die for, but also what he is willing to live for.
As I sit and type in my cozy room, safe in my warm home, with the sound of birds chirping outside my window instead of mortar fire, Kyle’s story gets me thinking. He was willing to risk his life for our freedom and safety. Jesus said in John 15:13, “No one can have greater love than to give his life for his friends.” Jesus knew this all too well. He paid the ultimate price for all of us. He took our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross so that anyone who believes in him can have eternal life (John 3:16).
The question now becomes, what do we live for? Or, better yet who do we live for? We have been given an amazing gift, a second chance. What are we doing with it? Jesus said he came so that we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). Are we living a full life?
And by full, I don’t mean busy. Busyness can be detrimental. I admit I struggle with this. If I have an idle moment, instead of using it to be still and listen for God’s voice, I allow guilt to set in and create trivial tasks to occupy my time. Busyness doesn’t lead to a full life. Leading a life with purpose does.
Wallowing in sadness or hiding behind our fears also doesn’t honor the sacrifice made for us. I don’t mean for us to slap a smile on our faces and fake it til we make it. No, I’m saying turn our focus from inward to outward. God is greater than the pile of unpaid bills, the boss’s hurtful words, or the date that never texted or bothered to call back. Happiness is momentary and fleeting based on an event, but God’s joy is a continuous spring from which we can drink and drink often and whenever needed. By showing God’s joy through our countenance, through our lives, and our actions, we are honoring Jesus’s sacrifice.
Starting today, how can you honor the sacrifice made for you?
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