Today is Veteran’s Day.
Today, we honor the countless number of men and women who have served our nation through military service.
How do we best honor those who have placed themselves in harms way for us?
Is it in the words we offer? The red, white and blue we wear?
The Facebook memes we post?
There must be a better, more substantial way to respond, to thank, to honor.
In 2 Samuel 23: 13-17 we find a short, obscure passage that may provide some help.
The context? David is embroiled in a battle with the Philistines, who at this particular point in the saga are encamped at Bethlehem (David’s home town).
David is thirsty, tired, and feeling more than a little homesick.
Then, speaking off the cuff, David makes this comment in passing: “you know what I’d really love? I’d love a drink of that fresh water from the well near the gate in Bethlehem.”
Without saying a word, three of his best veteran warriors sneak out (without David’s knowledge) and they break through the Philistine line. They draw out a cup from the special well, and bring it back to David.
David is standing there now, with this cup in his hand, speechless.
He is moved, visibly.
He is overwhelmed by the selflessness and sacrifice of these three men.
Indeed, he is so moved that do you know what he does?
He refuses to drink the water. He can’t bring himself to do it.
These men had risked their lives to bring it to him.
Simply consuming it seemed an inappropriate response to such valor.
So instead? He pours it out.
He empties the cup upon the ground, as a “sacrifice before the Lord.”
Perhaps that is our answer; our best and most fitting response on Veteran’s Day.
The fact is that you and I have been handed a cup.
This cup has been filled with freedom and security and liberty.
And the truth is we can’t just drink the cup. We can’t just chug it, and be refreshed.
Authentic gratitude demands more.
This cup has come to us at great sacrifice and loss, not only to veterans, but also to spouses, parents, and children of veterans.
Perhaps our response to them should be the same as David’s.
David honored those three warriors by choosing NOT to just consume their gift.
He honored them, by pouring out what had been given to him.
To truly honor veterans is not simply to laud them with ribbons, medals or parades.
Let’s do that too. But let’s do more!
Let’s determine ways to actually pour out our lives in response!
To all who have served, I say thank you.
To all who have been served, I ask: What will you do with the cup in your hand?
Johns Creek Baptist Church