Photo: U. S. Army Signal Corps photograph in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston

It’s hard to believe it was 50 years ago today when John F. Kennedy gave his inaugural speech. On that day he recited those now infamous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” It was a stirring challenge that inspired a generation.

Yet that inspiration seems to have lost its shine. In a segment on the Kennedy inaugural on the CBS Sunday Morning show this week, Charles Osgood concluded the piece with a striking point. A recent poll showed that almost 80 percent of Americans are more interested in what our country can do for them. Only 15 percent said they were more interested in what they could do for their country.

It made me think about my faith in Jesus. If I slightly modify Kennedy’s famous quote to read, “Ask not what God can do for you, but what you can do for God,” how would I respond? Would I be enthusiastic about wanting to serve God or would I be more apt to look for what God can do for me? I question if I would be more like the 80 percent who want to serve as opposed to the 15 percent who want to serve?

Jesus says in Mark 10:45, “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.” (NIV) It’s a challenge that requires us to put God ahead of self. As Jesus says in Matthew 16:24, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” (NLT)

On this day in the history of your life, ask yourself what you can do for God.

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