I’ve been drafted!
I will go and serve.

“‘Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.'”

The widow of Zarephath and the widow who contributed to the treasury both did incredible acts of charity. Both gave totally of themselves for the good of others. They gave all they had, not out of surplus. In their giving they placed their faith in the God who provides, God who the psalmist says:

…keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets captives free, gives sight to the blind, raises up those who were bowed down, loves the just, protects strangers, who sustains the fatherless and the widow.

As we reflect today, on this Veterans Day we should recall that our veterans, our service men and women have done exactly the same. Even if wealthy, they decided to place their all on the line to serve – not just their country – but the cause of freedom for their brothers and sisters.

Whatever we do, we have the God given freedom to decide. When drafted, we might choose to go, just because of the law. When we are confronted with Jesus’ command to love and serve others, whether we are clergy or laity, we may follow His commandments just because we are afraid of God’s punishment. That may be sufficient – to follow the law, or to do because we are afraid of punishment, but our faith calls us to do these things out of a greater purpose.

That purpose is God’s call to love, to lean on Him who is our protector, advocate, strength, and teacher.

When we decide to ‘go and serve,’ to give our all, we fulfill the commandment of love – loving God by doing His will and loving our brothers and sisters to the point of sacrificing ourselves for them.

The widows did that. The widow chose to prepare bread and give water to Elijah even though she and her son would be left with almost nothing. The widow gave her last pennies to the treasury for charity.

Jesus had portrayed the religious leaders who feigned piety; accepted honor from people, and stole from widows as living without love, without even acting out of obligation to the law or fear of the Lord. They chose wrongly – and served themselves, not love.

Our call is to live like our veterans, in love and service toward others – and to do so out of love. Let us honor them for their right choice and choose rightly ourselves.