While I was driving the other day, I saw several of those big, light up message signs above the road. You know, the ones that usually have some sort of safety reminder on them. This particular day they all said, "You're in Tennessee. Volunteer to drive safely." Now, I knew that Tennessee is known as the "Volunteer State", but this piqued my curiosity as to how it got that nickname. So I did some research. It turns out that near the beginning of the Mexican War in 1846, the United States had a standing army of only 8,000 men. General Taylor sent an urgent message to President Polk for reinforcements, so the president decided to call on each state to supply 2,600 volunteers. Tennesseans had a strong dislike for the Mexican government due to the trouble Tennessee native Sam Houston was in and the exploits and death of Davie Crockett who was also from Tennessee. As a result, when the governor issued the proclamation asking for 2,600 volunteers, 30,000 Tennesseans had volunteered within a week.

As I thought about those 30,000 brave men who volunteered for danger and probably death, I thought of another One who also volunteered for such a mission. No one forced Jesus to come here and die. In fact, while He was on earth, He said, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:17, 18). Can you fathom such love? Can you imagine such sacrifice? And yet, Jesus tells each one of us to take up our own cross and follow Him. Are you willing to volunteer for such a sacrifice? Can you give everything for the One who gave everything for you?

Choosing to be His volunteer,

Pastor Sutherland

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