“Only let us live up to what we have already obtained.” Philippians 3:16
In the graphic and stirring WWII movie Saving Private Ryan, a group of soldiers - under the command of Captain John Miller - is sent on a mission to bring home a young private named James Ryan whose 3 older brothers have all died in combat. One problem the soldiers face is that they have no idea who or where Ryan is. An even bigger problem is that they are in the middle of war! One by one, as they search for Ryan, the soldiers are attacked and killed by the enemy. Eventually, the few remaining men locate Ryan deep in enemy territory and must engage in yet another desperate battle for survival.
In a final scene of the movie, Captain Miller sits propped up against a wall, his body riddled with bullets and blood dripping from his mouth. Private Ryan stands above him as another soldier screams for a medic to come and save the Captain’s life. As the battle rages on around them, Captain Miller looks up at the young Ryan and whispers his final words…“Earn this.”
The Allied forces win the battle and James Ryan’s life is saved, but not without great cost and the young man is forever changed by the undeserved sacrifice so many made to save him. How could he ever EARN what he’d been given? In reality, he couldn’t. His salvation was a gift that had already been paid in full. All he could do for the rest of his days on earth was appreciate the gift and live a life worthy of their sacrifice.
You and I are much like Private Ryan. Jesus Christ entered the battlefield of this world and made the greatest sacrifice of all time by willingly dying on the cross to save all people from sin and death. For those of us who trust and obey him, He gives us new and eternal life as a gift and there is nothing we can ever do to earn it. But we CAN spend the rest of our days on earth living our lives in ways that show our gratitude for His salvation, our allegiance to His calling, and our commitment to His ways so that all we do brings HIM ALL THE GLORY for ALL HE’S DONE!
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Ephesians 4:1