Mike’s Musings …
In my home office are displayed my Dad’s WWII papers and medals, including his honorable discharge and the award of a Bronze Star for being a combat medic. Included in the medals are a Purple Heart (he was awarded two of them), the Good Conduct medal, the Bronze Star, Victory Medal, and European Theatre of Operations, and his military insignia. Dad never wanted to display these earned items anywhere! With great urging, I gained his permission to order them for him, and when they arrived, he said, “Put them in the hall closet.” His was a mindset kindred to many of the WWII vets and said, “We had a job to do. We did it and those of us who came home got another job!” We framed and displayed these honors in his office: he seldom returned to that room! When he died, we added the flag that adorned his casket to the display. Mom insisted I take all of them when we moved her from her house to the nursing home. I have them all displayed.
But they don’t honor me; they honor Dad. They encourage me! I muse on Dad’s war record (and I have it as he wrote it – very sparse and without details regarding battles or the two times he was captured.) What little I know of how Dad earned these honors still elevates him in my mind, but again, they are an encouragement to me!
You see, I’m a soldier in the Lord’s army! My armament is not carnal, (2 Corinthians 10:4), but spiritual (Ephesians 6: 10 – 20). What honors God may bestow upon me are likewise spiritual, but unlike the honors on the wall, God’s honors for bravery, good conduct, and enduring dangers above the call of duty, are all eternal! That honor is known as “the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10) or as Paul says, “crown of righteousness.”
Knowing from his own words a measure of what my Dad endured in the great war, and knowing from the reading and study of the gospel what my Lord endured to save me from sin, I am thoroughly encouraged to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) and lay hold on that promised eternity (ibid.) I muse on the reality of so many faithful soldiers of the cross whose lives were devoted to preaching Christ and Him crucified. What marvelous honors many received in this life! But each of those faithful ones was much like Dad: “We had a job to do. We did it. And when our lives were about to end, we await eternity. If found faithful to the Captain of salvation, we will have another job to do. Whatever heaven holds for the redeemed; whatever He wishes us to do, we’ll do. But we must remain in His army, and diligent in His service, to gain the greatest of all honors which states, “Come ye blessed of My Father.”