Thursday, March 26, 2020

Your Deeds are Not Forgotten

    It is human nature I suppose, that history usually gives the credit and glory to the big names in wars.  The Civil War is no different.  The most prominent names most often repeated in the history books from that time are: Lincoln, Grant, Lee, Sherman, Jackson, Sheridan, Forrest, and Stuart. Of course there are many more, but these are the personages that receive the lion's share of the press.  These figures were undoubtedly instrumental when it came to their leadership decisions throughout the conflict.  However, battles are not solely won by careful planning over a battle map. Nor is victory assured by an order dispatched to the front lines, or a command shouted from a horseback. The fighting is done and victories are won by countless, unnamed common soldiers.  Those key figures probably will remain forever unknown to future generations.

Take for instance the well-known story that took place during the Battle of Gettysburg.  On July 2nd, the second day of the battle, the Union's extreme left flank was in danger of being overrun by a large force from the 15th and 47th Alabama Regiments.  Many Civil War military historians agree that if this had occurred, the Union would have lost the battle and might even have lost the war.

Tasked with defending this strategically important position, called Little Round Top, was the 20th Maine, under the command of Lt. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain.  Low on ammunition after over an hour and a half of continuous fighting, Chamberlain ordered his remaining men to fix bayonets and had them charge down the hill toward the advancing Rebels.  The maneuver so surprised and scattered the now retreating Confederate force which ended the threat on the Union flank, not only winning the day, but ultimately the battle.

Who really was responsible for that hilltop victory at Gettysburg?  Was it the commanding general, Major General George Meade?  He was the one who issued the order for the 20th Maine to be placed on Little Round Top.  Or was it Lt. Colonel Chamberlain?  Was it not he, who correctly recognized the perilous situation, and ordered the daring, yet some would say, suicidal bayonet charge?  Are not their names the ones immortalized by history books, and credited with that glorious victory.  My thoughts go in a deeper direction.  True, battle plans were drawn up and orders were issued from Headquarters.  Yes, commands in the heat of battle were shouted and officers yelled, Charge!  Nevertheless, it was the lowly trooper, the common soldier, that scared unknown son, who obeyed that order, and charged down that hill.  It was they that ran headlong into a wall of musket lead, some charging to their doom.  It was they that won the battle.  Yet, they are not the names recorded in the annals of military glory.

The same holds true for the Church.  The Mega churches across the world are the ones well known. The popular, successful pastors, conference speakers, and Christian writers have become the household names in Christendom.  I think we need reminded from time to time why the Church is referred to in Scripture as a Body. For sure, God uses leaders to direct and mature the Church, but it is the whole Body, and may I say, the foot soldiers of the Cross that carry out His orders.  The Christian World may not know our names by heart, nor will Church Historians remember much of the common believer's victorious exploits for Christ.  Man may not remember most of us, or the things we did for Christ... And that does not really matter for there is one who remembers us and what we do.
"The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who esteemed the Lord and feared His Name."  Malachi 3:16

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