I get together with a group of college-age guys each week to encourage them and challenge them in their spiritual growth. Most of the time, we pick a book to read through and dialogue about. Right now, it’s John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life.
We were all pretty floored by chapter 7. Piper recounts the battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific. Here’s an excerpt:
“The hard statistics show the sacrifice made by Colonel Johnson’s 2nd Battalion: 1400 boys (many still teenagers) landed on D-Day; 288 replacements were provided as the battle went on, a total of 1688. Of these, 1511 had been killed or wounded. Only 177 walked off the island. And of the final 177, 91 had been wounded at least once and returned to battle….
“The Marines fought in World War 2 for 43 months. Yet in one month on Iwo Jiima, 1/3 of their total deaths occurred. They left behind the Pacific’s largest cemetaries: nearly 6800 graves in all…”
Chiseled in stone outside one of the graveyards is this:
When you go home
Tell them for us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today.
The point Piper goes on to make is that others have given their lives for us. However, the ultimate cause and sacrifice is the one that Jesus Christ proclaimed and made. True freedom comes only through Him. Whether you are a Christ-follower or not, you must acknowledge that there have been great sacrifices made for our freedom. Yet we get frustrated with a long line, a slow internet connection, or a steak not cooked just right. Is this what they died for? For our convenience? I think not.
Jesus Christ died on a Calvary hill 2000 years ago. For what? Our comfort? I think not.
Can we pause our pursuit of self-satisfaction long enough to consider how we might help bring freedom and hope to others? It’s not about you.