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FIRST-PERSON: Be ready for action

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The identical camouflage uniforms being paraded across the television screen every evening during the nightly news don’t fool me. Uncle Sam may require our service men and women to all dress the same, but I know that beneath those greens, tans and browns there are individuals who are somebody’s sons or daughters. Many are mommies and daddies to little boys and girls.

Unfortunately, I also know that many of these young people may not come home from the impending battle that lies ahead as they protect our nation’s freedom and our way of life.

I know this because I’ve stood over too many caskets and preached too many funerals for fallen soldiers who were members of congregations I served. I’ll never forget them.

There was the young man I led to the Lord and baptized. He was very active in our youth group and was killed in Vietnam. He was the only member of his family who was saved.

Another young man in a church I served was a great football player and was popular in school. He wound up in Vietnam and also died there. He walked with the Lord and was part of a strong Christian family. His dad was a deacon in the church.

I’ll never forget standing with the wife of another man in our church before his memorial service in a packed auditorium. He was shot down from the skies above Vietnam. “I’m looking forward to today more than any day in my life, including my wedding day,” she said. “If just one person could be saved, then Ed’s death would be worth it.” Seven people came to Christ that day.

I mention these special people because these are sobering days for our nation. When we consider that more than 250,000 of our fellow Americans have put themselves in harm’s way to protect us, it awakens a sense of gratitude for how God has truly blessed the United States throughout its history. We are indebted to all those who serve and who have served to make our nation strong.

But let’s not forget their families. Families who anxiously wait for their loved ones to return also pay for the commitment to our national ideals. We must remember them as well.

We pray for peace, but understand that sometimes peace comes with a price tag. It cost Jesus his life to bring us the only lasting peace there is. In these tumultuous times, Christians must be bold to give an account for their peacefulness (1 Peter 3:15) and quick to comfort those around them. This includes reaching out to the families of our military personnel as well as children who are fearful and feel insecure because they don’t understand the days’ events.

It is with a desire to equip Christians for these ministry opportunities that a “Nations in Conflict” area of the lifeway.com website was developed to provide a diversity of resources to help churches and individuals move to a deeper level of service to others. The practical information found there provides a number of biblical solutions designed to meet the spiritual challenges we as a nation currently face. This site is a work in progress, so come back often for additional ministry ideas.

Peter writes, “Get your minds ready for action” (1 Peter 1:15). The apostle Paul writes, “Proclaim the message” (2 Timothy 4:2). During these days, let’s take that biblical advice and use the gifts we’ve been given “to serve others as good managers of the varied grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).
Draper is president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    About the Author

  • James T. Draper Jr.