Veterans Tribute: Golf Carts & Humility

Have you ever witnessed someone going above and beyond another’s expectations?  Have you ever wondered that going above and beyond does not have to be a grand act deserving of publicity, merit, or honorable mention?  Upon arriving at the VA hospital’s notorious parking lot, we found ourselves in a spot that seemed to be 100 yards away from the entrance.  It was the first substantial cool down of this year’s crazy-hot weather pattern, and the temperature was struggling at 53 degrees with 15 mph winds barreling through our climate shocked bodies.  A burly man came whipping around the corner in a golf cart offering us a ride, and yep, we took it.  He was decked out in his black Northface gear, complete with stylish Oakley’s and black gloves.  He has a big bushy grey and white beard, and on his head, he wore a black beanie with a United States Marine Corp lapel pinned to the front of it.  The retired Marine made small talk and instructed us as to where to go once inside.  We made a remark about the crazy Oklahoma weather and he jokingly said, “Sometimes I wonder why I volunteer to do this!”

His remark sent a warm feeling throughout my body.  He volunteers to do this.  This man had gone through the rigorous training of the Marine Corps.  He is part of the “few and the proud”, and he had probably seen his share of misery on the battlefield because he looked about the right age to have fought during Vietnam.  Yet, there he was, driving a golf cart around the parking lot picking up fellow Veterans.  This was a job most would turn their noses up at, but he was there, lending a hand, sacrificing his time, and on that day, his warmth for others.  This simple act made me think of the ultimate servant, Jesus Christ.  He left his throne in heaven to serve us, and give his life for us so that we too, may share in the reward of heaven someday.  The Son of God washed others feet, played with children, ate with sinners and tax collectors, gave the leapers a second glance, and reached out to a man whom society had condemned to solitary confinement.  He went above and beyond by simply humbling himself.

What if we all strove to follow in these footsteps?  To perform extraordinary tasks by simply performing an unwanted duty out of humility?  The Son of God washing others feet, the Retired Marine becoming a golf cart shofar.  The corporate president serving in a soup kitchen.  The teenager picking up trash on a Saturday morning.    In Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus states, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Jesus served.  Jesus sacrificed.  Jesus stepped out of the status quo of royalty, set aside his crown of majesty, and replaced it with a crown of thorns on our behalf. 

Let us all set aside the crowns that we think we are sometimes deserving of, and find opportunities to serve big in small ways.  I am thankful to that Retired Marine for the  sacrifice he made when he defended his country, and even more humbled that he set aside his medals, his rank, his honor, and served me with a golf cart ride on a cold day.  I am thankful that Jesus set aside his relationship with his Father; set aside his life for me, a sinner in need of grace.  What are you going to set aside today?

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