Honoured to be a Soldier

training-exerciseThe story goes that a recruitment officer from each of the major divisions of the military were to make a presentation to a public high school student body. Each recruiting officer was clearly told by the school principal that he must limit his presentation to fifteen minutes to give equal time to each man. A bell would ring forty-five minutes later and the students would be released. Any further discussion with the students would have to be done at their individual display booths at the back of the auditorium after dismissal.

The first officer represented the Army. His passionate appeals focused on what the Army had to offer in job training and work skills that would not only serve their country well but prepare them for occupational pursuits where sizeable incomes could be made and they would come home with many job opportunities open to them. The officer’s presentation went five minutes past his appointed time.

The Navy recruiter was next and did not want to duplicate the offers of the first speaker so his presentation highlighted the opportunities to travel and see the world while serving their nation. Cities and countries seldom heard of by the students were enticingly presented. His talk on opportunities to board ships and airplanes caused this zealous representative to also go beyond his appointed time allotment as well.

When the Marines recruiter finally was introduced, there was less than five minutes left. He stood behind the podium without saying a word. His penetrating gaze was as intimidating as the silence that held them spellbound. His gaze seemed to read their very souls. As his eyes slowly and intently scanned the awestruck group from the one side of the assembly to the other and then back again, no one moved. After several minutes of this deafening silence his gruff voice boomed across the address system. “There are two, maybe three of you that would be fit for the Marines. Meet me at my booth. Thank you.” The story ends by saying there were more young men at the Marines booth after dismissal than at the other two combined. There is a story with some similarities in Judges chapter seven as Gideon was assembling a group of men for battle. Gideon didn’t need everyone who was available. If fear of any kind hung in their hearts, they were dismissed to go home. Twenty-two thousand left! The second test was given. Nine thousand, seven hundred more headed back. Gideon now had less than one percent of his original crowd. This is the group of fearless soldiers that God used to dislodge the enemy.

God is not interested in enticing missionaries with the training of the “Army” or the travel of the “Navy.” He is looking for those who can look at His call as an honor. Men and women who don’t tremble at the odds that are pitted against them. Soldiers who anticipate the trenches, not the airplanes and classroom. While airplanes and classrooms may be a part of the preparation, it is not what entices His soldiers. There is no “going home” and resuming life as it was before even if God does place that individual back in the community from which they came. They are in the King’s “Marines.”

God routs the enemy with the one percent that are one hundred percent in love with Him. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Which percent are we in?

By Val Yoder (I Witness News/Summer 2008)

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