Most of us are aware that freedom is not free. Someone has already paid or is presently paying the price. We as Americans know that the members of our Military have carried the bulk of the responsibility for the blessings we experience on a regular basis. The Bible has much to say about those warriors who provided protection for their nation. Joshua was used by God to conquer Canaan, and who could ever forget the bravery of David in his encounter with Goliath. In Second Timothy, Paul reminds us about the greatness of soldiers. Let’s look at what he says about them that can help us to appreciate them as well.
First, in Chapter 2 verse 3 he mentions the difficulty of being a soldier. They must endure hardness. You probably have heard of the intensity of going through boot camp. The men and women go through several weeks of questioning can they possibly make it to the graduation ceremony. When we cross paths with a soldier, either active duty or retired, may we be quick to remember they have or had put forth great sacrifices for us. They laid their lives on the line, and some have given their lives. Memorial Day which is the last Monday of May is a great time to be thankful for all Veterans who gave their lives and to be thankful for those who survived while serving. Also, do not forget that many of the survivors suffered severe physical and emotional injuries.
Second, in the first part of verse 4 Paul shares of the discipline demonstrated by soldiers. A soldier is not afforded the opportunity to do what he or she would like to do. One is totally under the control of the leadership that is placed upon that man or woman. Another wise thing for all of us to do is to live a life of discipline. To the Christian, it means to follow the truths that God has given to us in His Word. Paul admonished Timothy in verse 15 to be obedient to what is taught in the Scriptures (the Bible.)
Third, in the last part of verse 4 we are encouraged to notice the delight that radiates from the life of the soldier. A soldier would want to make those in authority appreciate the outstanding service. As we go about our service to our Commander and Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ, let’s make certain that we are looking at our service as a privilege more than an obligation. Those Chick-fil-A leaders are wise to instill in their employees the concept of always saying to the customer, “It is my pleasure to serve you.”
It is said Memorial Day is the unofficial start of Summer. May it always be far more than that to us. May it be a time to be thankful for our freedoms and to be very appreciative to those who paid the cost. And of course, be thankful to them all year long. Their service is full of difficulties such as to at times to be separated from their family members. They are called to a high standard of discipline. They have to always be prepared to go into extremely dangerous situations anywhere in the world for as long as needed. They have to delight in what they do. They have to be aware of how important their mission is. They must and we must see the value of what they do.
Ron Swiger is the Chaplain at Greene Memorial Hospital and guest columnist.