Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868. It was not a “Hallmark Holiday” nor was it designed as an excuse for a day off work and a chance to BBQ.
It was designed for a country that had been splintered through the Civil War to remember the roughly 620,000 soldiers who died during that four-year period.
Today we observe this holiday to honor all of those who have died in battle – over 1.2M who have died to ensure our freedom.
These were soldiers with dreams for their future…hopes of marriage, of raising a family, of growing old. Those dreams were snuffed out because they were willing to risk it all for something greater than themselves: freedom.
It’s no coincidence that the NT also uses the language of a soldier in describing Christians.
What does a good soldier for Christ look like?
He knows how to follow (2 Tim 2.1-3)
To not follow an order from the CO is treason…Treasonous soldiers were imprisoned or killed!
Our Commanding Officer is Christ. One metric to determine if we are a good soldier is to simply ask: How are we doing with following His orders?
He knows how to be faithful (2 Tim 2:3-4; 4.7)
A good soldier has learned to be patient as he endures hardness. He has learned to establish the right priorities – to please the One who has called him to be a soldier.
A good soldier will not be distracted by the circumstances of this life. He understands that a sacred trust has been committed to him. Therefore, he will faithfully keep it.
Faithfulness is a requirement for being a good soldier.
He knows how to finish (2 Tim 4.6-8)
For a good soldier, it is not enough to simply “start” out for the cause. He will passionately give it his all. For the soldier, there is a sense of determination.
He is not a weekend warrior. He is not the one to run from a fight or to desert like Demas. Rather, he is committed to the cause.
Some soldiers may obey orders, even when they disagree. Yet, for the Christian, our Commander will never give an immoral or inappropriate command.
Thus, it is possible to dedicate ourselves to obeying His every command. We can see this battle to its conclusion knowing our Commander is always right.
By the way, we have an advantage over all the soldiers who have ever fought in a way. We already know the outcome. We win!
As you think through the implications of the holiday we just observed, and as you set your house back in order after a long weekend – remember that as children of God we also belong to an Army.
We are called fight the good fight of faith. May the Lord help us to follow boldly, to remain faithfully in our place, and to finish the task we have been given.