By Chaplain (Col) Stephen W. Leonard, USA, Ret.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Giving Tuesday was this week. Possibly, you were completely unaware. But you do not need a particular Tuesday to give of yourself. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday work just as well: every month, every year. Giving yourself to God first of all is the way to die to yourself and give flesh to Galatians 2:20. How is it you might consider yourself as crucified with Christ?
Philippians 2 expresses how you might have the mind of Christ, indeed love as Christ loved. How is that? By doing nothing in selfish ambition or conceit, treating others in humility as better than yourself. Jesus, though equal to God did not grasp that equality to Himself, but took the nature of a servant. He served others, and in so doing, He served God.
So you, by being crucified with Christ, take His nature, that of a servant, by giving yourself in humility and love to others, treating them better than yourself. By serving others through the crucifying of yourself, you become like Christ. Giving yourself in this fashion is no easy task. It requires the very strength of Jesus. “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
I realize in my elderly age that simply living requires all my time. Taking medicine, eating, sleeping, exercising, and simple hygienic tasks, take so much time. I move slower, with less energy, with much more effort and
aches and pains. Serving others is the last thing on my mind when I can barely take care of myself.
Yet, I am called to consider others as better than myself. One who is nearest to me and therefore available for my help is my wife. I therefore can serve her best. And all others that God places in my path, or I can seek to serve in the crucifying of myself.
Those with more energy and youth need to especially search out others whom they can serve. There is never lack of those who need our humble service. All which is needed is a willing and giving spirit, the sacrifice of being crucified with Christ before the opportunity flees with age and health. In eager expectation of hearing the words from the Savior’s lips, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
“Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in endless praise, let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee, swift and beautiful for Thee.”
1st and 2nd verse of Francis Ridley Havergal’s hymn, “Take My Life and Let It Be,” 1836-1879)