Head First: May 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

No greater love

(This post is based on a very apt message I heard yesterday. I thought it might be worth sharing.)

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." 1 John 3:16)

Milton L. Olive III was born in 1946 in Chicago. There is almost no information available about his life, except for a single heroic act that he performed in Vietnam. In October, 1965, while Olive was moving with his unit through the jungle near Phu Cuong, he was the first to see a live enemy grenade drop into the middle of their formation. Instantly, Pfc. Olive scooped up the grenade, pulled it to his midsection, and fell on top of it. He absorbed the full impact of the blast and prevented further death and injury to the rest of his platoon. The entire incident began and ended in fewer than five seconds.

What you think of the Vietnam War is irrelevant. Olive's act was not about politics nor mission. He sacrificed himself for the people he cared about. Few would argue that, by any standard, Private (First Class) Milton Lee Olive III fully lived up to the highest ideals of service and sacrifice.

And I tell myself I'm acting like Jesus by coming off ten bucks for a homeless guy. [/clueless]

Still, look at the verses that follow:
"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us." (vv. 17-20)

You and I are not likely to cross paths with a live grenade this week. But I can almost guarantee that I'll be confronted with someone's real need. If you're paying attention, you probably will be, too. If you're not, then click on one of the links in my sidebar.

Today is a day of remembrance. Let us choose to remember that service and sacrifice are not limited to a battlefield. Service is an opportunity to sacrifice. Every day. In every situation. In every life.

This is how we know what love is.