It consists of the following: a one mile run, followed by 100 pullups, followed by 200 pushups, followed by 300 squats, followed by another one mile run. Oh, and by the way, all of this is technically supposed to be done while wearing a 20 pound vest of body armor!
Now, these days, I only run when I hear the dinner bell! And most of my pullups consist of pulling my chair a little closer up to the supper table! So, as much as I might like to, I will not be undertaking the Murph Challenge anytime soon.
But to his everlasting challenge, my youngest son, who is a fitness freak, did just that earlier today. Granted, he was not officially entered in any sort of competition or event; but he still undertook the challenge as a way of personally honoring Michael Murphy (and all others who gave their lives in defense of our country and our liberties) on this special day.
This does not mean that I, myself, did not exercise today. I took my usual walk and then ensconced myself in my easy chair to watch a war movie marathon on television. As I write these words, Saving Private Ryan is on. The movie is noted for its gritty battle scene in which Captain John H. Miller leads his command, Company C, 2nd Ranger Battalion, as they fight their way ashore on Dog Green Sector of Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
More so than any other Hollywood production, this one film arguably captures the essence of what that “day of days” must have been like!
But I love the penultimate scene as well. In it, Captain Miller has just been mortally wounded protecting the life of Private James Francis Ryan, whom he was sent with a squad of men to find and retrieve. With his dying breath, he whispers two simple words to the much younger Ryan: “Earn this!” Miller is obviously referring to the sacrifices so many others have made in order that Ryan can go on to experience a long and hopefully full post-war life.
The final scene then reverts to the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France, where Ryan has, after many years, returned to the grave of Captain Miller. As the scene unfolds, the elderly gentleman stands from where he had been kneeling in front of the gravestone and earnestly pleads with his wife to assure him that he has been a good man and that he led as good life. Thereafter, he turns to face Miller’s grave marker, and with tears running down his cheek, salutes his fallen commander.
Why do I so love this scene? Because it reminds me that, as an American citizen, I too have been called to live a life this is worthy of the sacrifice that was undertaken by so many brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen on my behalf! I pray I will not ever live a life that is unworthy of their devotion to duty!
And what is true of my responsibility as a citizen of my country is also true of my responsibility as a believer who is a citizen of Heaven. The Amplified Translation of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Ephesians (in chapter 4, verses 1-2) puts it this way:
“So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior--a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another [a]in [unselfish] love.”
A fairly common bumper sticker proclaims, “Only two people ever died for you - The American Soldier and the Son of God.” Given this, especially on Memorial Day, I trust that the life I live is one counted worthy of their respective sacrifices on my behalf.