Change of Command
Fleeting moments of excitement and waves of humility overcame Jim and me as we celebrated a dear friend’s military change of command. The parade ground was packed with troops in formation; troops who had been standing there for well over an hour before the ceremony even began.
Flying high were the flags representing our nation, the State of Hawaii, and every unit that serves and deploys from this U.S. Army base. They were whipping in the trade winds that nipped at the miles and miles of acreage that make up the famous Schofield Barracks. The ragged peaks of the Koolau mountains reached majestically heavenward as the backdrop behind the parade grounds as a tropical sun beamed down on all present.
There we sat in reserved seats under one of the many awnings set up around the platform where four U.S. Army officers and commanders were coming and going, changing and receiving new responsibilities in 13 time zones, 9 countries, and 4 states.
I have to admit that I was overwhelmed as I read the biographies and intently listened to the introductions of each of the four officers, including my friend Patricia. Their lives have been spent in universities, specialized schools, training centers, and over multiple deployments.
They’ve faithfully poured their time into study and training to equip and mature themselves for greater usefulness. Their families, who had sacrificed alongside them, were also present to proudly support them. Then there were their parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends who had gathered from around the world to celebrate and take part in honoring and supporting the commitment their loved ones have made to serve our country.
Sitting there in the visitor’s reviewing stands, I couldn’t help but be greatly convicted about my own commitments. These officers and their soldiers had committed themselves to giving their lives, if necessary, to defend our country. What was I committed to? And how seriously? How deeply? How fervently? What commitments could, and should, I be making for my Lord and His Kingdom program? What commitments could, and should, I be making to my family and friends? My church?
I had to ask myself, am I increasing in my study of the Bible, purposefully choosing to grow as I serve the Lord and His people? Am I competent? Am I faithful? Am I committed to keep advancing as a child of God? Is there any “sacrifice” involved at all?
You can probably tell by now that, when Jim and I walked away from that ceremony we came away thrilled with all of the tradition and proud of the determination of those troops, but also sobered with the reality of what it means and looks like to be truly committed to something, a cause, a creed, a country—a set of beliefs.
Dear Lord, Thank you for each and every military veteran in this great country. Help me to learn to commit and sacrifice the way these mean and women do every day. Amen.
If you wish to learn more life lessons from great leaders in the bible like Paul and Timothy, you will find a great resource in Jim’s book, A Leader After God’s Own Heart.
What does an evaluation of how I spend my time reveal about my sacrifice, commitment, and dedication? What does it reveal about my purpose and focus? My goals?
How does seeing someone else display a fervent commitment inspire you to do the same?