Sibling Rivalry

I ask you to please be patient with me as I follow the road for this week’s blog. My path this week takes a meandering route but it does reach the summit, I promise!
Last week we touched on the message of the annually recognised Remembrance Day, which is ‘lest we forget.’ This year was particularly poignant as it was the Centenary year, the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1.
As a teenager, in my final year at secondary school and as history was one of my chosen subjects, I got to go on a school trip to visit the Battlefields of the Somme. Initially, my perspective was on how many days out of the classroom this meant for me and who I was sitting next to on the coach, but and it was a big but, I was in for a massive and unforgettable change of focus.
I am the daughter of a man who, as a conscripted soldier, had fought in WW2 and maybe because of this, I had an interest in the history of the two World Wars and possibly arrogance that I knew more about it all than my peer group did. I was about to be disabused of this prideful belief.
What a shock! What an impact the visual can have! Shock usually wears off but this has stayed with me all the rest of my days. The sight of those graves, as far as the eye could see was simply unforgettable.
Yes, we had museums to visit and English speaking tour guides to listen to but the sight, indeed sights; because there are many different graveyards to visit, of those well-tended but tragically numerous graves left me speechless.
In silence, I wondered around them, glancing at my sixteen year old school mates, particularly the boys, enthusiasm for life bubbling up within them and contained only by the stern and watchful eye of our teacher. So many headstones were bearing the names and ages of those fallen men. So many of those men were aged just seventeen when they were killed; just one year older than my friends and I.
I had held back my tears but my personal dam broke as I read stone after stone inscribed ‘Unknown Soldier’. Unidentifiable, bless them, their final place of rest marked but not specifically recognisable to those that loved them.
Nameless in death, their lives laid down in the name of freedom, bodies broken beyond recognition, their sacrifice in this war as great as their identifiable comrades.
Did their more anonymous sacrifice have the same value and count equally towards our victory? Absolutely it did!
We can see a parallel in the life of the unknown Christian Soldier, although that in itself is a paradox as we are all known equally to God.
Are we all called to be leaders? Yes, we are!
Are we all called to be household names, bestselling authors, pastors of mega-churches, the vocalists of popular worship bands or even just simply up on the stage? No, we are not!
A commission is a command, an instruction or a role given to a person or a group.
The Great Commission Matthew Chapter 28 Verse 18 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This is the calling that we ALL have, to share the gospel and lead people to Jesus.
For each one of us, our walk, our part in this victorious battle is going to be as unique as is our own DNA, however, we can often get caught up in envy of the specific callings and paths of our brethren.
We can stumble on our own path when we see our brothers and sisters called into the places or ministries that we might like to have ourselves. We can fall when that brings judgement born of pride and jealousy. Perhaps we might think that we can sing better than her or that we can speak better than him? We struggle spiritually in a similar way to how we can struggle in the natural when others are awarded or granted what we had hoped to have been given. Maybe you had your hopeful eyes on that lovely engagement ring or were perhaps counting on the income from that promotion ‘with your name on’ at work?
Whatever it might be, we must pick ourselves up, recognise, repent and readily turn our eyes back to Him. With perfect grace He will pick us up, forgive us and cleanse us of whatever dross attached to us when we were down in the dust and dirt.
Trust in Him, He created you and He will perfectly place you where you can best utilise the gifts, talents and skills that he bestowed upon you. As you follow Him again you will find your true calling and your personal mission and direction will unfold. Whether you become a ‘known’ or an ‘unknown’ soldier, as you lay down your life, your sacrifice will count equally towards our ultimate victory in Christ.

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