The funeral service for my uncle was held yesterday, in Sophia, NC, and the committal service was in High Point, NC. From comments made during the first service, I learned that my uncle was a decorated veteran of WWII, having served under General George S. Patton. The committal service included an Army Honor Guard which was very impressive.
The 21-gun salute, the careful folding of the flag, the presentation of the flag to the ranking soldier followed by a careful salute, and the presentation of the flag to my aunt, was a fitting tribute deserved only by our country’s veterans.
On cue, the military bugler began playing taps – sometimes known as “Day is Done.” The piece was beautifully done, at least, the portions one could hear. As the taps began, so did many of the other noises in the city surrounding that cemetery. We were encircled, it seemed, by the wailing sirens of emergency vehicles and the sounding of horns.
I still don’t know what the emergency was all about. But as the noise around the cemetery continued and the taps sounded, I watched the faces of the Honor Guard members to see if they would be distracted. There were no expressions of concern, no glancing around, no private conversations – they stayed the course and focused on the task at hand.
According to God’s Word, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2.4)
Have you noticed we are in a spiritual war? When the Holy Spirit quickened your spirit to trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, it was a draft notice, a call to duty from the King of Kings! Have you answered that call? Have you shown up for duty? Or, have you been AWOL?
I know how easy it is to look at participation in church attendance, occasional Bible reading, obligatory prayers, etc. and to think: “I’m fulfilling my duty, I’m being a true Christian. This is all that is expected of me.”
You’re wrong. There’s more to the Christian faith than that! Faith is an action word, not a passive one. Faith is a lifestyle, not a once-a-week, hit or miss proposition. Faith is holding tightly to the scarred Hand of Jesus as He leads you into battle; it’s not mere lip service toward a religious concept.
You MUST remember: you are a soldier for Christ!
Over and over the Bible points to the fact, that “…the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4); that we must “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6.11-12a); that we must “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12a).
My brother was telling me yesterday that his grandson, a 3-year-old in the Baptist hospital, keeps singing to the nurses coming into his room: “I may never march in the infantry, Ride in the cavalry, Shoot the artillery. I may never fly o’er the enemy, But I’m in the Lord’s army.”
From the mouth of babes.
Many of you are very troubled by personal challenges and pains. On the national scene, I’m sure all of you have been very concerned about the economy, many have been anxious about the direction of the country, some are disappointed about the results of the election – while others are pleased. People are anxious, confused, frustrated – but all agree the world needs help. Human understanding and human devices will never produce the lasting change needed.
Yes, we want the world to be changed, but know that there’s a Heavenly Father who wants the world changed more than you (John 3.16) – you can always trust Him. Trust His love; trust His timing; trust His hand.
“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2.4)
When troubles assail you, don’t look to the left or to the right; don’t be surprised, shocked, or dumfounded; don’t be so concerned and entwined with the world’s worries that you forget to please God – the One who called you into His service.
God is still God. He is still on His throne. He loves you.