Sunday, November 5, 2017

Serving God and Country

This coming Saturday, the United States of America will observe Veteran’s Day in honor of those who served in our armed forces. In recent years, I’ve gone out of my way to thank veterans who helped preserve liberties we often take for granted…especially the freedom to preach the gospel.

As a teenager, I cringed when a friend suggested the idea of reinstating the draft. I dreaded the thought of going to boot camp and having some drill sergeant yelling at me. But at 21, I became dissatisfied with my life and enlisted in the Army National Guard. The military taught me much needed discipline and respect for authority. Today there are national anthem protestors who I believe should spend time in the armed forces. Perhaps they would develop a greater appreciation for this country.

A young minister I knew once wrote on her Facebook page, “I will not bow to a country nor will I pledge to a flag. This country is not my home. My home is in heaven as is yours if you know Jesus.” Except for her mentioning heaven and the name of Jesus, this sounded like something a Jehovah’s Witness would say. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society command their followers not to salute their country’s flag and to avoid military service.

Sometimes when I ask fellow believers where they’re from, they answer “heaven.” This is a bit annoying when I simply want to know what city or country a person lives in. Philippians 3:20 does say that our citizenship is in heaven. Nevertheless, each of us has a purpose for being in the nation God has placed us in. 

I have a nephew named Benjamin who once served in the Marines. My brother-in-law Greg shared a touching comment his son made when calling home from Basic Training. Benjamin was asked what he liked best about being a Marine. His response was “breakfast and being an example for the Lord.” Greg felt he had succeeded as a father. Benjamin’s platoon mates called him “Holy Man.”

It's not ungodly to be patriotic unless you obey an order that clearly goes against Scripture. Being too nationalistic may cause you to miss God’s will for your life. Bible scholars believe Jonah initially refused his divine assignment to preach in Nineveh because of his pride for being an Israelite.

No country will be perfect until Jesus comes back. Until then, be a good witness wherever you reside. God can move you if He sees it best for you to live somewhere else.

“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” - 1 Peter 2:17

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