Friday, November 12, 2021

Serving Many For An Audience Of One

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I [Jesus] have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 5:12-13

We just celebrated Veterans Day. The recognition of men and women who are set their lives aside for a season – be it a short or long season – for the good of others.  There is something called the Code of Conduct that I was taught when I was a young soldier. There were 6 points. The first is “I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.” The last is “I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.”  There are many people who have served in the military who are veterans but have never been in harms way. But that is not the point of the recognition. The point is the willingness to be placed in harms’ way that is the point. When I buy building materials at Home Depot, I get a discount for being a veteran.  The clerk will look at my VA card and say, “Thank you for your service.” That is a pretty common phrase now-a-days. The willingness to sacrifice your welfare for the good of others is a noble act. As a Christian – there is really not a lot of difference in our service. That one day we will hear the words for our Lord –

Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” – Matthew 25:23

There is something we referred to in the Army called the “tooth to tail ratio”. That that referred to was how many people (the tail) it took to support one infantryman – the one looking the enemy in the eyes. Generally speaking it was 10 to 1. There are 10 people supporting each soldier on the front line. Every one of the ten in the tail was important to ensure that the one was equipped to fight the enemy – mano y mano – if you will. We called then Remington Raiders (clerk typists) Chairborne Rangers (admin people) – in Vietnam – Saigon Warriors – service members who never got their boots muddy while they were in Vietnam.  But that was never to suggest that their responsibilities were not important – not critical to the fight. Some veterans never left the United States during their service – but that is not the point. They wore the uniform. General George Patton is credited with this motto – “I am a soldier – I fight where I am told – I win where I fight.”

As a Christian – we don’t choose our spiritual gifts – we don’t decide what our place will be in the body of Christ. But, what we all do is surrender our hearts and our devotion to God by faith.  He has already decided how you will be used for His glory and the good of others. 

I [Paul] beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2

Through personal sacrifice is how we serve God and others. Paul referred to being a Christians as being a good soldier.

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.” – 2 Timothy 2:3-7

Let me leave you with this – a couple verses from an old hymn.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before!

Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle, see his banner go!

Like a mighty army moves the church of God; Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod;

We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.” Onward Christian Soldiers, S. Baring-Gould, 1649, Public Domain

And … thank you for your service!

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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