Nineteen years later, I continue to feel a brokenness about that day. So many never made it home to see their children. Some never had a chance to tell a loved one good-bye. Then, there were the police and the fire fighters who ran into the building. As the crowds ran away, they hurried toward the devastation. Though their lives hung the balance, the lives of others were on the line so they sacrificed.
Many never made it home. 9/11 changed everyone’s life. First responders made a sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, for people they never knew. When I think of those first responders, their images illustrate for me what Jesus meant w
hen He said, “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 HCSB)
We swore on that day to never forget. But has our memory of what transpired changed the way we conduct our lives? What did we learn about sacrifice on that day that we model today?
Jesus spoke those words of sacrifice and love to the disciples as He prepared to lay down His life for them. He never said, “You guys should thank me”, nor did He bemoan what had to take place. Rather than chastise their inability to redeem themselves, He took the step they needed Him to take. He turned toward the cross.
Today, I sit and think about that day. It started as a normal day for nearly all of us. Yet, what transpired shook us to the core. As I look back, nearly two decades later, there is a beauty that rose from the ashes. The beautiful display of sacrifice and love challenge me to do better. The heart of those who ran toward the helpless force me to break free from my comfortable to help those in need. The words of Jesus and His actions convict me to be about something bigger.
What sacrifice can you make today for someone else? As we remember the fallen, we honor them by appreciating what we have and giving to those who are in need. As we think about Jesus and His words of what great love is, we pause what we are doing to help someone do what they cannot on their own. When we do, that day becomes a day our friends, neighbors, and complete strangers will never forget.