I thought for a moment yesterday about the gravity of a national holiday that celebrates U.S. service women and men who fell in battle. The lives of fathers and mothers, sons and daughters that gave their lives in the honorable pursuit of defending a nation and its values.
This weekend, I got into a spirited discussion with a friend who, in the name of Memorial Day, wanted to push everyone to proclaim what they were willing to die for. What are you willing to die for? Seems unnecessarily harsh, and for most people a question that they never have to put to the test like soldiers do. The better question for most of us is, what are we willing to live for? And I don’t mean what obligations are you willing to fulfill, but truly, what are you and I willing to wake up thinking about providing service to. What are we willing to give all our genius, energy, prayers, life and love to? See, dying, as morbidly natural as it is, is sometimes easier to do than living.
When you and I live for something, we have to show up everyday. Let's be clear. Living is not the same as living for something. Some of us are just existing, no purpose to waking up except completing a set of mundane tasks that get us a mundane check; doing what I have to in order to go home and do nothing. True living is acknowledging the preciousness of each moment and the power we have to create something with that moment. Living for something is the ultimate expression of service and love. But in order to live for something, we have to kill or allow other things around and in us to die. And let's be honest, that is not always the easiest thing to do.
Here is what I mean:
If we want to live for love, we have to stop hating on everybody.
If we want to live for peace, why do we go to war with so many folks who are not even our enemy?
If you want to be a husband, you've got to kill the player (you better preach to yourself, Jeff).
If you want to live for your kids, you can’t kill your own life. Kill the lie that says you can't have one.Your kids will look to your life to define what real living is.
We gotta kill selfishness to be able to live to serve.
And we have to kill the wasteful spirit in us in order to live to invest in our futures.
If you think hard, we all have something we live for or were created to live for. And if you think harder, we all know something we have to kill in order to truly live for it. Now angry wives and husbands, I'm NOT talking about that. But to use J. Anthony Brown as an example, brother, you gotta kill that white-woman-only spirit to find that right sister to live for.
Seriously, most of us will not give our lives for our country. But we all have something to live for, family. The Bible says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." So you don’t have to proclaim that you would die for anything to prove how real your service and love is. Your worship or your payment for all you have been given is your service. Your daily commitment to live will allow you to build a legacy of love so that when you are gone, no one will have to ask what you were bold enough to die for. They will know what we left the world because of how and what we LIVED for. Live and love hard today so that those you live for can't miss it.
As always, I’m Jeff and that’s my truth.