Originally I had planned to draw a comparison between a spoiled, self-centered young bride who was going to charge guests $1500.00 to attend her wedding, including her family, and some news stories of WWII vets being honored at some community celebrations. In her case, she had a boorish melt down on the internet because no one was coming and she had been forced to cancel the wedding. I was going to go with the angle of humility versus self-indulgence. Then I realized, there really is no comparison that can be made, certainly not with WWII vets. So let me focus on what matters.
These veterans of WWII have few equals, except with their comrades in arms, and their numbers are dwindling. The news stories made that point clear. What made these stories stand out for me was not that these men were being honored by family, friends and neighbors, they deserve to be so hailed. No, it was the way total strangers showed them honor and deep respect with notes and cards filled with words of praise. More important were their expressions of heartfelt appreciation for the sacrifices they made in days gone past.
These vets were like my father, who was at Bastogne, in that they never really talk about what they endured. They display, by their private silence, a humility that reflects their upbringing and their faith in the Lord who watches over them and this nation they love. They did what they did, endured what they did, braved the struggles they did, because it was necessary. In humility, tempered by their faith and trust in God, they served. Absolutely they should be honored.
As a pastor, I’ve been privileged to know many men and women who have served this nation in times of struggle. From the bitter cold of “The Bulge” to the steamy jungles of Vietnam, from ships sailing into harms way to steel Calvary coursing over burning sands, our military have fought for this country and her people keeping us safe. They should be honored and thanked for their sacrifices daily.
They pay this price and more because it is necessary. They are tempered by humility and faith which gives them the courage and strength to do what they must without a self-centered bravado. They do what they do in a silent fellowship of arms because it was necessary.
This past week we lost another one of those who humbly served, Senator McCain. He, too, endured much and spoke very little of it, because it was necessary. We honor his memory and his service with gratitude.
I know there are lessons here we should apply to ourselves as Christians. We, too, are called into service by our God to do what is necessary. We do what we do out of love for His kingdom and because we have been charged with a sacred duty in His name. So we serve doing our best in silent humility, denying any glory for our part, but with dedicated commitment to God’s purposes because it is necessary.
When the time comes, God will honor us with the glory of His eternal kingdom, as He does to all those who love Him faithfully in humble service.
And those are my thoughts. God bless.
Pastor Lee R. Harder