October 30th, 2022 by Howard Younger
Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes
One of our local members finally received his Bronze Star.
Remarkable is a slight on the term; however, it is even more astounding since it has taken a ‘gazillion’ years for this to happen (considering the medal was earned during the Vietnam War!) The ‘pace’ that our U.S. government seems to be incrementally addressing issues never ceases to amaze.
Gratefully though, the military finely realized the courage displayed by this soldier of the past. We are, as can be expected, very proud of our brother as well as any current soldiers, first responders (including several who are in our relatively small congregation), and those who serve in the medical fields (again, we also have several in our church group). These remarkable individuals just always have our ‘backs’!
But the Bronze Star award set me thinking about our eternal “award”, or if you prefer, grace. Does God recognize outstanding efforts with ‘extra heavenly dividends’? For example, will Paul receive a ‘heavenly Bronze Star’? How about Peter? Perhaps our early Christian martyrs (those who were tortured unto death)? What about today with our ministers, Bible teachers, elders, etc.?
I immediately realigned my brain, remembering Jesus’ parable of the workers in Matthew chapter 20. Our eternal relationship with God is not measured on extra effort we put forward. Rather, our Maker’s expectation is for us to fully and completely utilize whatever talents we’ve been allotted for His Kingdom. We are not compared by our Holy Father to others, but only to ourselves. What are we doing with the gifts He has extended to each of us? Each of us should be exhibiting a ‘Bronze Star’ for God’s Kingdom. All of us, no matter how small our contributions, must be giving one hundred percent.
Nothing else is expected, and nothing less is acceptable!
Just what can I contribute to God’s mission? After all, to be honest, we are only workers, students, housewives, husbands, people with menial jobs or an average education (perhaps we have less than-average). Maybe you’re a vice president of an industry, or are reasonably wealthy, a collegiate graduate, married, but with issues, or single (male or female). The list goes on!
Have I found your assessment yet? Well, I could continue the search but you get the point. God has provided each of us with a unique makeup. Less we attempt to minimize our effort for His Kingdom by downgrading our gifts, remember Ananias’ complaint to God, as well as God’s response, regarding Paul in the ninth chapter of Acts. Ananias was wary of Paul, who was in the process of destroying the church (at least attempting), and yet God had a job for him to expand His Kingdom! Wow!
Now, before anyone suggests that they are not in Paul’s category, consider what one of our sisters suggested to me in a recent Bible class: “the fields are ready for harvest.” This reference was from John 4, where Jesus had an interesting conversation with a woman whose background (credentials, talent, etc.) was less than admirable. The lady-at-the-well brought a town to Jesus, then Jesus used this example to tell his disciples that people were waiting for God, so get busy!
You and I cannot possibly begin to comprehend how much courage it took for this woman to bring Jesus’ message to a village who looked down at her for doing what she had to do. She was simply trying to survive! Yes, God had a job for her. More than that, this town, not unlike any group of humans, needed God’s message. They came to Jesus because this woman motivated them to do so. Wow!
Did she have Paul’s credentials? Could she speak like Apollos? Did her village consider her wise, enough to be followed? Was she ‘theologically sound’? No to all of these questions. But she had encountered Jesus, despite what must have been severe reservations, and she conveyed the right answer: that Jesus was God-incarnate and that she needed to bring Him to her village. God had a job for her! God had a Bronze Star for her, so to speak. And God has a job for each one of us.
God has a bronze star waiting for you and I to become critical messengers for the Kingdom. Nothing more than our talents is anticipated, but certainly nothing less is expected. Let’s all re-read 1 Corinthians 1:26-27, and then find someone who needs God’s message, despite our reluctance due to minimal talent.
The harvest is waiting!
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