North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    Through my military assignments I have been called upon to deliver deployment ceremony invocations, as well as thanksgiving prayers at homecoming celebrations for particular returning army units.    The homecoming events are very special. Newspapers, television stations, and families get tremendously excited, and for good reason. The bells ring, the whistles blow, the band plays music, crowds gather, and banquets are planned for a grand reception. We, as a grateful nation, welcome back our brave men and women who have went away as our substitutes to sustain the national honor of promoting justice, liberty, and freedom for all.

    Especially for the young men and women who have completed first time deployments, they know much more about a soldier’s life than they did when they went away. Much of the glamour has disappeared. The hardships of the march, the convoy briefs, situational awareness, the discipline of the daily drill in a warzone, the restraints of military discipline, the monotony of a soldier’s continuous duty, the hard side of a soldier’s cot out in the field, the loneliness of a camp or FOB far distant from home, the realization that “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). All these things and more remain after the glamour and sounds of pomp and circumstance have disappeared since their send off.

    Now that they’re home, how soon will all the hardships be forgotten? The welcoming cheers, the faces of those they love, the luxuries of home are made doubly times attractive due to the months of hardship. The memory of some of the trials haunts returning soldiers for a long time, but others dispel the memory of them. Who cares for the homesickness when they’re home again? Who cares for the loneliness when shaking the hands of friends, getting hugs from loved ones, and looking into happy eyes? Who cares for hunger when setting before a feast? It’s hard to remember yesterday’s hunger when we’re full today.  

    I share these relevant thoughts not because we are at war with terrorism, but to lend your thinking to talk about the greater war in which we’re all enlisted and the one in which we must carry forward until death musters us out. Because of our own personal struggles with the world, Satan, and the flesh, it’s a good thing for us to think of life as a battle and to count ourselves the soldiers of Jesus Christ.

    If we think of this, it’ll help us submit our wills to the will of our Creator. The first thing a soldier has to learn is how to obey. They must submit their will to the authority of those who are over them. Even when they think they know a better way, they go ahead and follow orders. As soldiers of Jesus we can rest assured that our Divine Commander will never make a mistake!

    The true soldier never asks the question whether the service he or she is called upon to perform is of high dignity or not. It’s simply their duty to obey and do faithfully what they are called to do. Such Christian soldiers of God’s Army are always a godsend to the church.

    A preacher many years ago was in the market for a horse and he found one he admired and remarked to the owner, “That’s a fine looking animal. Is he as good as he looks?”

    The owner replied, “Sir, that horse will work in any place you put him, and do all that any horse can do.”

    The preacher eyed the horse still more admirably, and then remarked, “I wish he was a member of my church!”

    We must all be ready with military promptness, to seize and fulfill all our presently assigned duties whether they seem great or small. To do so is to make ourselves helpful allies of Jesus Christ. And to think of ourselves as soldiers of God’s Heavenly Army will bring us into a conscious brotherhood with all other Christians. There’s nothing like sharing the hardships and dangers of a soldier’s life to break down all prejudice.

    A particular military unit that had problems with team work and prejudice tendencies was fighting a heated battle in a war overseas when a black soldier sustained a serious injury to a major artery. He was losing blood and in critical condition. He later recounted to his commander that the medic doctor told him, “There’s nothing I can do for you.” Just then, one of the most prejudice men in their unit was struck with compassion and put his thumb on his jugular vein and held it there for two hours until additional help could arrive. The two soldiers, one black and one white, became the closest of friends and their entire unit became the most efficient and loyal of all units in their whole battalion. Their notoriety was based on a faithful willingness to perform their duty in the heat of the battle, but mainly it was based on the love of God one person had for another. Love indeed covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Let us love one another deeply and without exception.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him at:

Posted by on Jul 9 2017. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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