Summary: Explaining how veterans have learned several key life lessons from the military that will help them in their walk with God
CCCAG November 12th, 2017
Scripture- Matt 8:5-13
In 1988, I was in the Military Processing command in Milwaukee Wisconsin to get my physical and fill out paperwork to enlist in the US Army. There were many reasons that I had chosen this route in life, among them was because I had to prove something to myself- that I could handle being a soldier.
So in large part, I was in it for me and what the Army could offer a short skinny kid from Kenosha.
Little did I know how much being a soldier would change me, mature me, and affect me even to this day.
Learning virtues like discipline, honor, character, and courage.
Life lessons like Teamwork, leadership, sacrifice, AND Obedience.
I grew up in a home where very little of any of those virtues existed.
Many of you grew up in rural areas were those values were part of the air you breath. City life by itself doesn’t have to instill that in you like living a rural community does, but the Army broke through all of that and laid a different foundation than one I had grown up with.
Anyone who is a veteran who has even a slight bit of self-awareness can agree with me on this point- you are a better person because you served.
Jesus has an encounter with a veteran centurion in Matthew chapter 8 that I want to look into this morning. In the first century, a centurion was a veteran Roman military officer that was in charge of 1-200 men.
In today’s American Military, he would be somewhat analogous to a captain, or if you were Navy, a 1st Lieutenant or even a lieutenant commander. Throughout this man’s long military career, he had learned some important lessons, and I want you to see if you can begin to spot them as we read our scripture for this morning.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.
“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
Big idea- Yesterday was veteran’s day, and this is veteran’s day weekend.
Being a Veteran has taught me a number of things that are beneficial to my walk with God. I listed a few of them in the introduction, but I want to take a few of these attributes that people who have served in the military learn, and really emphasis how they can help us with our relationship with God, and help us fulfill the mission HE has given us to spread the Kingdom throughout our area and our world.
One of the first things the military teaches you is respect for-
It’s been said that the difference between a veteran and everyone else is this-
A Veteran, at some point in their lives, they wrote a blank check to their nation and it’s citizens that said, “I will give everything, up to and including my life to defend you and our country”
Most Veterans remember where they were, and how they felt as they raise their right hands and said the following words.
I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
I remember the weight of what I just promised falling upon me. It was July 17th, 1988. I was 18 years, 8 months, and 14 days old, and had just sworn to give my life to defend my country.