History is replete with stories of people who have sacrificed their lives for others. For example, many are aware of the Chernobyl disaster in 1996. But the incident could have been much, much worse if it wasn’t for the actions of three men. An accounting of that incident is that the chamber housing a huge piece of radioactive carbon was in danger of melting right through the floor into a pool of water. If that had happened, it would have caused a massive steam explosion which in turn would have forced thousands of tons of radioactive material into the air. It was quickly decided that someone needed to drain the pool, in order to save the lives of potentially millions of Russians. Three men volunteered for the task. Alexei Ananenko, Valeri Bezpalov and Boris Baranov all selflessly opted to leap into the water to open the valve. They later succumbed to the massive doses of radiation they had received while saving the lives of their countrymen.
Though this story would certainly qualify as an extreme example, these 3 Russians exemplify the principle found in Philippians 2:4-5, which reads, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” In the same way that our Savior put his aside his rightful desires and came down to die on the cross for our sins, so we too are admonished to look out for the needs of others. While giving ones life is obviously rarely called upon, with a few exceptions, there are many opportunities that we have to live out this principle. Maybe it’s giving up some of our time to help someone out with something. Maybe its being willing to give up something that we could rationalize as something we rightfully deserve and deferring that to another. Or maybe it’s coming to church on a Sunday morning determined to just not be a pew-warmer, but to instead determine to a seek out someone who might need an encouraging word. Let’s be a church that is full of people looking for opportunities to be a help and encouragement to others!