“For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford,
but far more. And they did it of their own free will.”
– 1 Corinthians 8:3
One of my earliest sport memories is watching the annual Army-Navy football game.
Even as an child I understood there was something unique and different about this game. Since my dad was a World War II Army veteran, I of course pulled for Army. I loved the game itself, but I was also fascinated with the atmosphere in which the game was played. Sharply dressed Cadets from West Point on one side and Midshipmen from Annapolis on the other. They were passionate and you could tell the game meant a great deal to them. Yet when the game was over, regardless of the winner, honor and respect were on display for everyone to see. As I grew older, my appreciation grew for the men who played the game and for the men and women who put their heart and soul into cheering for their brothers. I learned that West Point and Annapolis are called service academies and that each cadet and midshipman has made a free will decision to serve and protect the United States of America. Soon after the final whistle has blown and the cheers fade, these bitter rivals will be on the same team with a common mission—serving this country’s citizens near and far.
One of the greatest disappointments in my lifetime is the loss of mutual respect for one another. Each year we seem to lose a little of who God intended us to be. How easy it is to forget those who serve us. Men and women who serve in our armed forces, law enforcement and first responders certainly come to mind. But what about those even closer to home like pastors, teachers and coaches. I don’t like to think where we would be without the men and women who serve us in each of these roles. In many cases the people who serve us the most are compensated the least. Service jobs don’t pay well as a rule, but that’s not why people who go into those fields do it anyway. They do it of their own free will, because they want to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Do you want to be great—serve! 1 Peter 4:10 says that “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”
Lord Jesus, make me a giver today rather than a taker. Amen.