January 5, 2023
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In the movie Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks portrays this Army captain whose unit is assigned to find a private named Ryan in the dangerous aftermath of the D-Day Invasion. Ryan's brothers have both been killed in combat, and, unbeknownst to him, he is his mother's only surviving son. The mission involves the captain's unit in some brutal battles with the Germans. But Private Ryan is located and his life is saved by his captain who dies in the process. As Private Ryan attends to his mortally wounded rescuer, the captain speaks his last words in a hoarse whisper, "Earn this." The camera morphs from the young private's face to the face of an old man, standing by a white cross in the cemetery at Normandy. It is Ryan many years later, near the end of his life. He kneels by his captain's grave and he says, "Every day of my life, I've thought about what you said to me that day on the bridge. I've done my best. I hope at least in your eyes that I've lived up to all that you gave for me."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Never Forgetting the Cost."
That was a man who tried to live his life here in light of what was sacrificed for him. I understand that. I hope you do. See, you and I were paid for with the blood of God's one and only Son when He died on the cross for every wrong thing we've ever done. Like the chorus says, "He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sins away. And now I sing a brand new song, 'Amazing Grace'; Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay."
Now Jesus will never say of His death for us, "Earn this." We couldn't. That's why He died. There is nothing we could ever do that could pay our sin-bill with God. He did it all. But the Bible does talk about living a life that's worthy of our Savior. In our word for today from the Word of God, for example. Colossians 1, beginning with verse 10. It says, "We pray...that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." Can you say your life's bearing spiritual fruit, or is it pretty much all about earth-stuff? Are you really growing in your knowledge of God, or are you pretty much where you've been for a long time?
Verse 13 reminds us of the rescue mission Jesus came here on, "He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves." If you're still messing around with the dark stuff, you're embracing the very junk Jesus died to liberate you from.
No, you could never earn what Jesus suffered for you. But you can live each day of your life in light of it, which means you live to please only the One who gave His life for you. It means not limiting God to a little God-box you build, but blowing the walls off of your love and off of your surrender to Him. No cross should be too heavy for you and me to bear for Him. No demand He makes could possibly be too much. No sacrifice you make for Him can be too great. Not after what He sacrificed for you and me.
Your life was not paid for at a discount price. Jesus deserves better from you than a discount discipleship. You don't have to visit a grave to remember what you owe Him. He's not there anyway. But each new day, in your heart, visit that cross where the Son of God loved you and gave Himself for you. And then, with a heart full of love and full of gratitude, live that day for Him.