“Take one for the Emperor”

I just returned this week from participating in an U.S Army “ROC Drill’ or Rehearsal of Concept” drill with the Nation’s Joint Task Force-Civil Support Command. A ROC drill is where they review deployment, employment and re-deployment maneuvers for an upcoming mission, which in this case is the National Level Exercise “Vibrant Response”. This is a month long (+/-) exercise that tests the military response to a major event on U.S. soil. I wrote extensively about this last year in blogs under “First Alarm” on this site. The best way to exercise the entire Command is to use the worst-case scenario of all worst cases – a nuclear device detonation. Major General Mathis, the Commander of the Joint Task Force, which is comprised of approximately 5500 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen took the idea of “service to others” to whole new level with his phrase “at some point, someone is going to have to take one for the Emperor”. He was referencing the Fukushima nuclear reactor failure in Japan several years ago when someone or many would “have to take one for the Emperor” and despite the danger, go into the radioactive area to obtain the data needed to make critical decisions. Brave men from the Japanese Army entered the lethal area to get the information they needed to start the containment process – they did it at the request of the Emperor. If we had a real-world nuclear detonation in this country, we would be asking our military to do the same. It really made it clear to me that none of us really understand how to serve others when you compare it to acts like “taking one for the Emperor”.

To bring this back into our daily reality, we have public safety personnel risking themselves everyday for our safety not to mention all of the “troops” dedicated to protecting us world-wide. What about the average person? What kind of service to others do we do? Sure, some of us “serve” others in our jobs while some think that “I just work”. I’d suggest that there is no such thing as “just work”, every day we do/can serve others; its all in how we perceive it or our attitude toward it. Each one of us is important in our own way and we should never forget that. Reacting to the “Good Morning” sent your way by the always happy co-worker with a smile instead of a grunt turns your attitude toward serving others simply by returning the positive back to them. We spend a lot more of our day serving others and much of time we don’t realize it.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

There have books written on Jesus’ servant leadership – besides the Bible. Jesus came to us to: teach, lead, and provide an example of how to live but most of all, He came to serve us. He gave Himself for us so that we can all have eternal life with God our Father through Him. His service is even greater than “taking one for the Emperor”. On the last night before Supper, Jesus took the time to wash the feet of His disciples in what many believe to the greatest show of being a servant. The night before He would be turned over to start the process of a long death, Jesus washed feet. Serving His fellow man was important and while the disciples didn’t know what was coming, Jesus did. He knew that continuing His life of service was important to His mission and ironically, it’s a message that still continues to resonate 2000 years later. People remember the little things like washing feet before they talk about ALL of the other things He did. We aren’t much different. People will remember the little things you do for them before they remember the one or two big ones. Go out with the intent to serve others; pick up that piece of parking lot trash instead of stepping over it. When a co-worker looks stressed, help them with something small like a coffee refill or an offer to assist with something small. Sometimes it’s just the timing of a smile that can make all the difference in the world. Please pray for those who work everyday to safe guard us and be comforted by the knowledge that there are people who are willing to “take one for the Emperor” for you.