We Salute you, Veterans!

We Salute you, Veterans!

Written By Tem Mattox

We Salute you, Veterans!

In 1979, I found myself working in the oilfields of Kern County after leaving the farms of Arizona. It was then I decided I needed to see more of the world via the United States Marine Corps. I saw the world and would later, after college, put on the uniform again as a Navy Chaplain. It was an honor each time as our military has much history and a precious supply of discipline for young men and women.

We, as Christians, admire courage, honor, and good leadership–-and, of course, the harsh beauty of the ultimate sacrifice.

In this world, we will always have soldiers and Veterans.

All of scripture has a continual relationship to men and women who choose to become soldiers. Jesus did not tell the Roman soldiers to take off their uniforms and put down their swords, but to treat people well as they were soldiers–be honorable! I like that.

This holiday originated to celebrate veterans of war (or as the original Armistice Day—defined as putting down arms or weapons).

We are certainly at war in our world. Jesus did not organize to overthrow King Herod or the Romans but organized to overthrow our hearts. Then, He asks us to work in His Kingdom with the fighting tools He gives.

The military gave me an M-16 and a 60-caliber machine gun, both capable of doing tremendous damage to humans–the world’s tools.

Now, Jesus arms us with faith, hope, and love. And tells us, as Paul in Ephesians 6 states, that other human beings are not our “enemies.” That the battle is not “flesh and blood” but spiritual rulers in high places we don’t see or recognize.

So, with a world at war and our very American culture at war with itself, we recognize the real battle.

We are not at war about politics, race, gender issues, etc….we are at war to win hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ. So they might know God and the power of His love.

While the bullets are flying around us–the war of words, accusations, and threats–let us pray and do battle for the Lord with his equipment–not the world’s equipment. “Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry,” Paul says.

Last, don’t forget to salute. If you are walking on any military base and you hear the trumpet of the flag raising you stop, stand to attention, and salute in the direction you hear it coming from–even if no one sees you.

Learning to salute was a skill accomplished in boot camp and a required greeting to officers of higher rank. You could get in hot water quickly by not rendering respect in that fashion.

Christian brothers and sisters, worship is a salute. Obedience is a salute. Loving the unlovable is a salute. Giving when it hurts is a salute. Patiently listening to someone you totally disagree with is a salute. And forgiving others as God forgave you is a salute–”Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord.”

Let us walk in honor with the Lord, veterans, and those who love veterans.

About the Author

Tem Mattox
Director of Missions, Kern County Association

Tem was born in Arizona and raised in Colorado. He grew up being nurtured in the faith by his Baptist Grandmother. Tem is married to Karen (Howell), and together they have three sons and one daughter-in-law. From preacher, to youth leader, to chaplain, to church planter, Tem has enjoyed every opportunity to serve in the Lord's work!

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