Thursday, May 30, 2019

Onward Christian Soldiers

  One of the more humorous comments recorded of a soldier during the American Civil War was this one.
"You can tell a person's rank in the Union Army by looking at the seat of his pants. If he has no holes in his pants bottom, he is probably a Captain. If he has one hole he is a Lieutenant, and if he has two holes on his backside you can be sure he is a Private."

What was that enlisted man, (who was probably a private himself) trying to say? I believe the meaning was obvious.  What he was so eloquently insinuating was that it is the Enlisted Men that were doing most of the fighting. The common foot soldiers were the ones taking the brunt of the hardships in many most of the campaigns and on the endless battlefields. It was not the President, nor Congressmen, or even the high ranking Generals out on the front lines. It was the former farmers, store clerks, butchers, bakers, fishermen, blacksmiths, and a thousand other professions, young and old, plodding down muddy, deadly roads, in hopes of victory.

A Confederate soldier once wrote in a letter to his folks back home these words, " I never shoot at an Officer. I only shoot at Privates. I figure it's the Privates that are the ones I have to worry about. They're the only ones doing the fighting." Even President Abraham Lincoln had some fun joking about the importance of his generals. On hearing a report from the battlefield that one of his generals had been captured along with a hundred horses, he remarked, "I am sorry for the horses. I can make a Brigadier General in five minutes, but its not easy replacing a hundred horses."

Now I am not saying that high ranking leadership is not important in a conflict. Planners and Decision makers are a strategic element for any battle and they are men of courage too. But I am in agreement with those voices from both sides of the Civil War on this simple point.  It is the common, everyday warrior, no matter what his station or education in life that make the difference in the battle.

That powerful fact is clearly proclaimed over and over in the Scriptures.  Paul writing to the Church in Ephesus states, "God gave the Church Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers." These are the leadership of the Body of Christ, the generals, the officers (so to speak) for the churches. However, what do they exist for?  They are there to equip the foot soldiers and the front line troops, for the battles ahead.  Paul continues by saying, " they are for the perfecting, equipping of the saints for the work of service."  Ephesians 4:11, 12
To the Church at Corinth he wrote, "God has chosen the foolish things to confound the wise, the weak things of the world to confound the things the world calls mighty." 1 Corinthians 1:27

The spiritual battles in this world will not be won solely from the pulpits of grand cathedrals, or from the pens of skilled Christian writers, nor from golden throated gospel singers, or even from the most celebrated television evangelists.  The strongholds of the enemy will be brought low by spirit equipped, fearless, uncompromising and determined Christian foot soldiers. The PRIVATES of Christ's Victorious Army.

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