As he concluded his inaugural address on January 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan shared a story about a young man named Martin Treptow who lost his life in the First World War. He related the story to the economic woes of the time by saying: “The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.”
President Reagan was referring to his goals for improving America’s standing as “the world’s strongest economy,” but I would like to suggest that similar words could be said of our faith-walk, particularly in the context of Easter.
For every Purple Heart recipient and Gold Star military family, there are thousands of men and women in the armed forces who serve our country sacrificially in less drastic ways. In the same way, Jesus doesn’t call each of us to follow in his literal footsteps by facing death for our faith. However, I do believe that he calls us to be ready, and to be willing to make sacrifices for what we believe. Romans 12:1 (ERV) puts it this way: “So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him—an offering that is only for God and pleasing to him. Considering what he has done, it is only right that you should worship him in this way.”
It is too easy for us to become comfortable in our comfy little bubbles and forget that around the world at this very moment, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are facing very real persecutions – including death – for their faith. This Easter and in the weeks and months to follow, let us remember not only Jesus’ sacrifice and glorious resurrection, but also how we can put our faith into action so that “… with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us” locally and around the globe.