I’ll always remember that meeting with Matt.  Matt was in the Youth Group at my church, and as he neared graduation and his 18th birthday, he became increasingly interested in enlisting in the Army.  This was back in the years right after September 11th, and his enthusiasm, though supported by his parents, was also a cause of concern for them, so they asked me to talk with him.
I knew I did not have any advice to offer, so I figured I’d ask him questions.  It turns out, I only got to ask one: “Matt, tell me why you are so interested in enlisting in the Army.”
His reply, “Didn’t you tell us true love is sacrificial?  That Jesus said, ‘the greatest love is someone who will lay down his life for his friends.’  I just figure if my going over there [Middle East] means another person might not have to, then it’s my calling to go.  It is better for me to go risk my life than someone else who might have a family to take care of.”
I think about that conversation all the time; a kid who happened to think Jesus meant what he said.  A kid uninterested in parsing out all ways to get around what seemed so clear to him. 
Matt did enlist and had several tours.  I understand he was always ready to volunteer for the tougher assignments, and there were many times he was in danger.  Thankfully, God saw him safely through the Army years and brought him home.
There are others like him.  Many others who made and are making sacrifices for the freedoms we enjoy.  Veterans Day is November 11, and I urge you to pause and give thanks for our veterans. Don’t take that great love for granted.  Reach out and let one know you are grateful.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Daniel