When you understand the price paid for what you have, a higher level of intentional living is required. When you realize the sacrifice for what you typically take for granted, these ordinary details of your life become extraordinary. The truth is, we run around acting like spoiled jackwagons because we forget the price of our freedoms.

Today, in America, we enjoy a 3 day weekend. A day that represents the ceremonial kickoff to summertime with all it’s happy festivities. People are on vacation, traveling, camping, crowding the lakes, rivers and beaches, eating ridiculous amounts of hamburgers, hotdogs and watermelon, ending it all with sunburns and the dread of returning to our normal routines tomorrow. Yes, it is Memorial Day. A day we celebrate, but what exactly are we celebrating?

We’re not celebrating summer. If we’re celebrating anything, we should be celebrating the life we get to live because of the lives sacrificed for this. We are honoring those who paid the ultimate price for us to be able to live in these freedoms. Those who died defending our country … that’s who we honor today. They gave our lives so we could have ours.

We say that, but do we really understand that? Do we understand exactly where we stand today with the freedom to do what we do, was literally fought and paid for with the sacrifice of someone who didn’t know us, but deemed us worthy of fighting for. What do you do in response to a sacrifice like that? How do you honor a life that was given for your own?

I must admit, I felt quite inadequate trying to fumble my way through writing a devotional worthy of Memorial Day. But then I realized, isn’t every devotional about a life given for ours? Isn’t that what unites us? A sacrifice paid for our freedom. Our life redeemed because of a life offered.

I turned to the Google for the right words today, and I came upon an old message from Billy Graham, delivered in 1955 as a memorial to war veterans. He said “These battlefields of the world today are holy to every American, and we pause to give them our highest honors, humbly realizing the sacred trust that these, our war dead, have handed to us.”

A sacred trust handed to us? I never thought of that. Imagine those who died to give you these freedoms did so trusting that you would savor them. That you wouldn’t waste them. That you would wake up every day knowing what you have and how darn good it is to have it. That you and I wouldn’t become ungrateful jackwagons!

But have we failed to honor that which we have been entrusted with? Have we been using our rights to just be right, while we try to prove everyone else wrong? Are we fighting against people who have also been charged with this sacred trust of living lives worthy of the sacrifice paid for them? And in all of this fighting, we lose the battle and sacrifice the very thing we’ve been entrusted with … LIVING.

Girl, don’t you realize, someone died that you might live today … are you living in a way that honors the price paid? Are you in awe of your freedoms, your opportunities, and the abundance surrounding you … or are you oblivious to how it could have all been so very different?

Oh, it could have been different. It could have been different if those who went before you weren’t willing to stand for you. It could have been different if those who gave everything for you would have looked back and realized you wouldn’t really honor the sacred trust handed to you.

But they did stand for you. They didn’t look back. And now here you are with this sacred trust, handed to you by those who declared you’re worth it, what will you do with it?

Billy Graham shared a story of standing by the bed of a soldier who had been wounded in battle, and watching his life slowly drift away. He said, “in that moment, the fact dawned on me that if he had to die for America, some of us must live for America. Sometimes it is far more difficult to live than it is to die. They have handed us a torch, and we have a responsibility to see that they have not died in vain.”

We are the ones called to live. They died. Now, we have a responsibility to live so their sacrifice is not in vain. We carry the torch of living lives worthy of being saved.

Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

That’s what Jesus did for us. He called us friends, and he willingly laid down his life for us. He died so that we could live. He stood for us, hung for us, bled for us, and he didn’t look back to see if we would honor that sacred trust.

Here we are, waking up in the reality that the sacrifice for our lives has been tremendous. It is overwhelming. It is humbling. And IT IS A CALL. A call to live, my friends.

We can’t just go through the motions now. We can’t just slump back into our old routines and check boxes that don’t even matter. We can’t allow our eyes to be glazed over staring at tiny screens, distracting us from the real life things happening around.

Wake up. Look up. Opportunities for living are here for you.

We have neglected this life for far too long. We have failed to live all that we could live. We have taken it for granted. We have complained and whined, and acted like spoiled, ungrateful, ridiculous jackwagons.

But someone has to decide your life is worth living better. Someone has to decide your life cannot be wasted any longer. Someone has to decide gratitude will be your chosen perspective, and yes will be your intentional answer. That someone is YOU. No one else can make that choice for you. Others have sacrificed for your opportunity to choose, but the choice is still yours.

Grab your torch and carry it on. The only way to properly honor all that has been given for your life, is to live yours to the fullest. Take nothing for granted. Savor it all.

Someone gave an intentional yes for you to be able to live this life today … in response, won’t you give your yes to living it better?

Billy Graham closed his 1955 message by saying, “The sacred memory of their sacrifice will always live in our hearts, and we have a sacred and holy trust—and we cannot fail them!”

So today, let us not fail them! Memorial Day … because when you remember, you can’t live the same.

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