Summary: We are called to remember many things, including our veterans. This sermon analyzed why and how we can show our love, appreciation and our thanks to them for all the things they have afforded our nation.
This coming Tuesday is our yearly Veteran’s Day holiday. It is a time set apart to remember, celebrate and honor our veterans. But to do so properly, I think we should know what the word “veteran” means. So, I looked it up in the dictionary.
The definition of “veteran” is defined as:
“Someone having extensive experience in some field” or,
“Someone who has served in their nation’s military.”
I think we can safely assume that anyone who has served in the military has extensive experience in some field …. and most probably the field of manual labor.
Sadly, many churches today do not honor veterans on Veteran’s Day. Some are led now by people who have either never served in the military, or have been around anyone who has, so they do not understand the depth of emotion associated with veterans.
Still others do not celebrate it because they feel that celebrating and honoring veterans, is tantamount to celebrating and honoring war itself. Let me set the record straight on that. NO! It is NOT the same thing by any leap of the imagination!
War is from Satan. It is meant for no other reason than to satisfy the flesh of some ungodly men who are in charge of a nation. There is no good to be found in war. But as much as we hate war, we are forever grateful for our young men and women who are willing to go to bad places, be totally apart from their loved ones, and to fight and even die for those left at home.
That is why we honor veterans on Veterans Day: To tell them “thank you” for keeping us free.
After the Civil War, General Sherman gave the commencement address at a military academy in Michigan. In that speech, he said that “war is hell”. Later, in a newspaper interview, he repeated that, but then added, “and thank God soldiers are from Heaven.”
Even though we do not like, nor do we celebrate war in any way, we do know that God ordains the principles of sending soldiers into battle to defeat evil, even if it means fighting.
“When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.”
Our veterans must leave home and go to terrible places, to be surrounded by terrible people, yet they are willing to do so. They spend their time remembering their loved ones. They suffer loneliness and homesickness. They are dedicated to their nation and they know they may be called upon to give the ultimate sacrifice – their very lives, for the sake of others. What kind of people do this?
What kind of people are willing to do this?
In JOHN 15:13, Jesus called them “friends” when He said, “There is no greater love than laying down one’s life for a friend.”
I believe that verse describes a veteran very well. He may not like the idea of doing so, and certainly does not look forward to it, but is willing to lay his own life down to save another if the situation demands he do so.
And so, as we celebrate and honor our veterans this Tuesday, we should give them what they need and what they deserve: our remembrance and thanks for what they have done; our respect and Godly encouragement. Let’s take our lead from the Apostle Paul when he said in;
“ 8 I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of His Son, is my witness how I constantly remember you 10 in my prayers at all times …”
It was not our preachers who gave us the freedom to worship, it was the veteran who was willing to do battle to keep that freedom. Likewise, it was not the community organizer who made this nation a great nation, it was the veteran who was willing to stand in defense of it. And it was not the lawyer who gave us the right to vote. It was the veteran who was willing to die if necessary, to keep us from losing that right.
Yes, our veterans have given us so very much, but I think the most precious gift of all was that they gave us a part of themselves. How can we not honor and appreciate them for doing that?