By Joe Chesser
The United States Congress issues a Medal of Honor to members of the armed forces who distinguish themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.” Many service men and women have received this medal over the years. Since 1941, over half of them received it posthumously.
The idea of above and beyond the call of duty intrigues me. What would motivate a man or woman to do that, to go beyond the call of duty? I haven’t researched it, but I doubt seriously if the motivation of those who have received the Medal of Honor was to receive the medal. Why would someone endanger their life for a medal, especially a medal they might never personally receive? No, I suspect there’s got to be something more than that! So, as I thought about it, several things came to mind, but they all filtered down to one basic motivation – love! Those who choose to go above and beyond the call of duty must truly love their country, their unit, and the greater good they are risking their lives to achieve. Anyone can do their duty out of fear of punishment or reward for performance. But love will motivate one to stand apart and to go beyond the call of duty.
People who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength and mind (Mark 12:30) are people who choose to go above and beyond the call of duty. They are the ones who are willing to step out from the crowd and do whatever it takes to serve God (John 14:15). They are the ones who are willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus every day (Luke 9:23). They are the ones who give beyond their ability because they have first given themselves to God (2 Cor. 8:1-5). They are the ones who stop and help those in need along the roadside (Luke 10:29-37). They are the ones who obey God even when they don’t understand why (Luke 5:4-6). They are the ones who never look back once they have put their hands to the plow (Luke 9:62). They are the ones who never ask if Sunday and Wednesday nights are required (Hebrews 10:25). They are the ones who have the courage to tell others about Jesus wherever they are (Acts 8:4). They are the ones who refuse to bind themselves in any ungodly relationship (2 Cor. 6:14-18). They are the ones who choose to worship God in ways that pleases Him, rather than to seek what pleases themselves (John 4:23-24). They are the ones who walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). They are the ones who always put God first in everything they do (Matt. 6:33). They are the ones who are always looking for ways to go above and beyond the call of duty.
And they do it because they love God more than anyone or anything else! Do you love God that much, to go above and beyond basic requirements? If so, you will receive from God something far more honorable and valuable than a Medal of Honor!
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.cofcfruitland.com/