In his book Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper talks about the danger of flushing your life down the toilet as we exhaust our time and energy on things that don’t matter, don’t bring glory to God and don’t further his kingdom. He speaks of the Christian Life as a battle and that we need to adopt a war-time mindset. God calls for a constant alertness and vigilance as we serve him. Rather than frittering our time away download apps and taking selfies, we need to be reminded live life with a singular devotion to a greater goal.
The many stories that exist of the courage and bravery of those who fought for our country serve as a great parallel to the courage and bravery with which we are to fight the spiritual battle God has called us to. Piper tells the story of Jacklyn Lucas:
He’d fast-talked his way into the Marines at fourteen, fooling the recruits with his muscled physique. . . . Assigned to drive a truck in Hawaii, he had grown frustrated; he wanted to fight. He stowed away on a transport out of Honolulu, surviving on food passed along to him by sympathetic leathernecks on board.
He landed on D-Day [at Iwo Jima] without a rifle. He grabbed one lying on the beach and fought his way inland.
Now, on D+1, Jack and three comrades were crawling through a trench when eight Japanese sprang in front of them. Jack shot one of them through the head. Then his rifle jammed. As he struggled with it a grenade landed at his feet. He yelled a warning to the others and rammed the grenade into the soft ash. Immediately, another rolled in. Jack Lucas, seventeen, fell on both grenades. “Luke, you’re gonna die,” he remembered thinking. . . .
Aboard the hospital ship Samaritan the doctors could scarcely believe it. “Maybe he was too damned young and too damned tough to die,” one said. He endured twenty-one reconstructive operations and became the nation’s youngest Medal of Honor winner—and the only high school freshman to receive it (Don’t Waste Your Life, p. 127).
That is bravery. This is a teen committed to a cause greater than himself. This was someone who was wholeheartedly devoted to a mission. Would that more of our Christian teens and adults live life with such passion and courage. This Memorial Day, as we honor those who have bravely fought for our country, let’s step back and take a little time to reassess our lives and mission. May we fight for souls the way Jacklyn Lucas fought for his country.