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“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
I’ve been working on this writing for the last nine years. And it’s not done yet.
I wanted to put down in writing, on “cyber-paper,” what I have lived and observed for most of my adult life. It’s what I love about our military . . . the people, the mission, the life.
The truth is . . . as members of the United States military, people are watching you. In the airports, in the community, in churches, and on TV, people see you who are in uniform, and your families, and admire you:
- They are watching your family teamwork. A military family and circle of friends takes care of each other in the good times and the bad. Especially when you’re overseas, friends become “family.” People see this and admire the sense of unity.
- They are watching your sense of purpose. There is a “calling” and significance in what you do . . . it’s not just another “job.” People see this and admire the sense of nobility.
- They are watching the way you honor others. You celebrate the history of your service branch; you tell the stories of those who have gone before you in battle; you salute; you give awards to those who serve well; you remember. People see this and admire the sense that bravery and courage are valued.
- They are watching the way you die. Some things are worth dying for—and freedom is one of those things. People see this and admire your sacrifice.
- They are watching your compassion. You layer your body with fighting equipment but stop to pick up a child or animal that needs your help. You respond to emergencies around the world providing help to those who are helpless. People see this and admire your deep compassion.
- They are watching your competence. You have developed skills through training and practice with which to accomplish tasks which others dream they could do. You seek excellence. People see this and are inspired.
- They are watching your submission to leadership. Respect is given in your ranks. It’s what makes a unit work smoothly, without renegade immaturity. People see this and admire your humility.
- They are watching your leadership. True leaders are servants, and their character is pure. At every level in the military there are leaders, and that takes training and commitment to people and the mission. People see this and admire your professionalism.
- They are watching your flexibility. You are willing to move from place to place . . . even respond to orders in a short period of time. You hold things loosely and refuse to bind yourself to things which hinder service. You come up with solutions to problems which arise with little or no warning. People see this and admire your trust and confidence.
- They are watching your discipline and responsibility. Your word means something. You are prompt and fit. People see this and admire your self-control.
- They are watching your sacrificial living. You don’t merely survive in tough times—you strive to thrive. You are over-comers! Your family faces deployment with faith. People see this and admire your strength and perseverance.
- They are watching your perspective. You understand that “in the great scheme of things” a day, a month, a year are not as important as developing relationships and nations. People see this and admire your mature focus.
- They are watching how you fight. Going to war takes planning and weapons, knowing the schemes of the enemy, and protecting yourself and your resources with proper armor and equipment. People see this and admire your wisdom.
- They are watching your patience. Years of training. . . and then waiting . . . and more training. Waiting for shipments, housing, promotions, orders, appointments, re-deployment. In this age of instant gratification, people see this and admire your patience.
- They are watching your camaraderie. In this “dog eat dog” world, they see how you work together and serve others . . . and how veterans look back on their memories of military service . . . and they admire your brotherhood.
Are there spiritual lessons in this list?? You bet. It is no surprise to me that I have found many Christians serving in the military. The qualities of unity, nobility, bravery, courage, sacrifice, justice, ethics, hope, authenticity, patience, kindness, persistence, valor, humor, competence, purity, obedience, hospitality, integrity, gratitude, generosity, duty, perseverance, concern, humility, submission, mercy, servant leadership, honor, resilience, discipline, perspective, responsibility, teamwork, help, grace, compassion, faith, professionalism, trust, confidence, self-control, forgiveness, strength, maturity, wisdom, brotherhood . . . are the righteous values which our Lord and Savior had in full measure and to which we are called.
Thank you for your service to our country . . . and to our Lord.
Questions to Share:
1. Are there any other attributes which you would add to this list? Please comment and let me know.
2. Which virtues on this list have you seen demonstrated in the military? Which ones do you believe you demonstrate?
3. Thank your spouse for those character qualities which you know they have and use.