Sermon Illustrations

Writing in a recent issue of Focus on the Family magazine author Stu Weber illustrates the need for a Christian "buddy" to help us survive the tough times.

In 1967 a grizzled old noncom at Fort Benning, Ga. taught [the soul-buttressing impact of "mutual mentoring"] ... to a formation of ramrod-straight troops: "Never go into battle alone!"

The war in Vietnam was building to its peak, and one stop for young army officers was the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning. The venerable, steely-eyed veteran told us the next nine weeks would test out mettle as it had never been tested.

The sergeant said many wouldn’t make the grade--it was just too tough. (Turned out he was right. Of 287 in the formation that day, only 110 finished the nine weeks.)

I can still hear that raspy voice cutting through the morning humidity like a serrated blade. "We are here to save your lives," he preached. "We’re going to see to it that you overcome all your natural fears--especially of height and water. We’re going to show you just how much incredible stress the human mind and body can endure. And when we’re finished with you, you will be the U.S. Army’s best. You will not only survive in combat, you will accomplish your mission!"

Then, before he dismissed the formation, the hardened Ranger sergeant announced our first assignment. We’d steeled ourselves for something really tough -- running 10 miles in full battle gear or rappelling down a sheer cliff. So the noncoms first order caught us off guard.

He told...

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