September 30, 2008
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person -- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die -- but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8
Ten-year-old Doug Zehner of Chesterton, Indiana, is alive.
Doug slipped into a rain-swollen creek and was pulled into a steel culvert. A next-door neighbor, Mark Thanos, jumped in to try and save the boy. When Mark had a difficult time getting out of the water, his 74-year-old father jumped in to provide assistance.
The boy, smaller than the grown men, was flushed through the three-foot-wide culvert and came to the surface about 20 feet downstream.
Both men died in their attempt to save the boy.
Doug's parents, moved by the selfless devotion of their friend, said, "He gave his life for my child. I can only hope that we live up to his memory. We'll do the best we can with our son for him."
Theirs is an appropriate and right reaction. When somebody gives his future for yours, a life well lived is the best and probably the only way to express your appreciation. You can't pay back the debt; all you can do is honor what has been done for you.
That's something we Christians understand.
We know that because of Jesus' sinless life we no longer live under the law; because of the Savior's sacrifice on Calvary's cross, we have been given eternal life. Now, to the best of our ability, we try to do our best to honor the Christ, the Savior who died for men and women who were sinners.
Oh, there is one other thing about this accident you might want to know.
Thinking about what had happened, young Doug, with a cracking voice, said, "I wish he (Mark Thanos) didn't love me that much."
As for me, I'm thankful there are people like Mark who can love that strongly, that selflessly, that sacrificially.
I'm even more thankful I have a Savior who loved a sinner so much that He -- fully aware of what He was doing -- traded His life, His hope, His all, so I might be forgiven and given a new life that will last forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for coming to this world to live and die for ungrateful, unappreciative humanity, my thanks. In dying so I might live, You have given me a gift I could never earn, and can never repay. But may I live a life that honors You. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries