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Now for the Sanitizer. Inspiration for the themes come from many sources. First, I ask God to lead me so that my writing is what he wants. Then I read Bible verses or return to some article I read or look through the hymnbook. Today I googled “Today in History.”

Well “” highlighted September 21 as the day Benedict Arnold betrayed his country. Benedict Arnold was an American General who distinguished himself in the early years of the Revolutionary War. The act of treason that was his undoing came when he had been given command of West Point on the Hudson River, then a fort, later to become the military academy. On this day, September 21. in 1780. Arnold met with a British commander named John Andre in order to surrender the fort over to him, an act of high treason. The plot was found out and the fort was saved. Benedict Arnold’s fate, however was to have his name become synonymous with treason.

Why did he do it? It is complicated. Benedict Arnold had been passed over numerous times for promotion. He had financial troubles. But historian Eric Lehman summarizes the whole sorry thing with two words. Benedict Arnold’s problem was “selfish ambition.”

Benedict Arnold put himself first. That is a deadly thing to do. When we put ourselves first, we hollow out our lives. Yesterday’s Bible reading in church was Jesus saying, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” Living any other way is lethal.

A young woman in my second church had this motto, “God first, others second, myself last.” Thank you for that, Leslie. I will never forget it. I need God’s help to live by it.

Living for ourselves, with selfish ambition leads to emptiness. It is in fact a wasted life.

God wants to use you for his purposes. What is God’s purpose? John 3:16 tells us it is to save the world. God’s purpose is the final establishment of his kingdom. When our lives are linked to God’s purpose, our brief little lives become great and eternal.

Our church takes mission seriously. Next month is the CROP Walk. Last month we had a blood Drive. We are due to host the homeless again soon (if we can’t use Memorial Hall yet we pay to house them in a hotel). This year we added a missionary to the roster of those we support. Pam and Kelly made a magnificent bulletin board in the church vestibule showing our missions locally and worldwide.

This is just one more reason we need the church. Church reminds us that we have a holy obligation to help others.

The amazing thing is that there is nothing better for our own health than when we get outside ourselves and serve. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came also not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Mk. 10)

So on this day in history we see the contrast between the traitor Benedict Arnold whose undoing was selfish ambition, and Jesus Christ who washed the feet of his disciples and died for you and me on the cross. Which man is a better model for living?

Please join your heart to mine in prayer. “Dear Lord, save us from selfishness. Help us not to waste our lives seeking our own dominance. Help us, please to put you first, others second and ourselves last, just like Jesus. Amen”