I watched an inspiring ceremony at the White House today. Actually, I was in my room watching a television broadcast of the event, but still felt inspired. The President was awarding the Medal of Freedom to 15 individuals. These men and women join a remarkable group of over 20,000 recipients thus recognized for their "especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Among today’s winners were a concentration camp survivor, business, community, and labor leaders, artists, athletes, and a former U.S. President. All of these diverse characters had one thing in common; they lived each day to the full and used their passion and talent to better the human condition. Most of the recipients were quite old, having lived long lives of productive service. Some had to be helped to their seats and some remained seated throughout the ceremony, but their physical frailty belied their inner strength.
How many of us wake each day determined to squeeze every moment out of it and make a difference in our world? I know for myself that I think about it sometimes, but then all too quickly let the drudgery of daily life sap me of my focus on the goal. It is at those times when I am tempted to berate myself for failing that I must turn to the greatest goal setter of all. God knows my strengths as well as my weaknesses, and wants to use me as I am. One day, one moment at a time, for as long as the number of days He has planned for me. Those winners did not accomplish all that they had done at once. They did it day by day, moment by moment, through every simple choice and action.
Right now, in this moment, I choose to follow Christ. I’m not a gifted athlete, or politician, or artist. My life is just a small part of God’s creation, full of ‘small things’, and fading as quickly as the lilies in the field. I won’t get a medal from the President or anyone else, but I do look forward to a greater and lasting reward. I hope and pray that someday the greatest King of all will say to me, “well done, good and faithful servant.”