I've been to the 'Tomb of the Unknown" once (many years ago). From a distance, it was moving but then again, the Arlington Cemetery has its own feel. Interesting facts emerge when one learns how soldiers prepare for their duty at the Tomb. Meticulously creating adornments for their uniform and measuring each placement of the pieces are just some of the things these soldiers must do. Never mind they are out in all kinds of weather. Never mind they must occasionally shout down detractors and those who choose to step over the enclosure to get a better picture.
There is a fearless demeanor offered by those who guard this sacred place. They have taken a vow to protect and honor the fallen with no name. What drives those who pace the walkway? What inner passion and resolve moves them to serve and protect without concern to their own safety? Love. The answers to these questions is love.
Everything about the soldiers that guard the Tomb, their preparation and their execution of the task is predicated upon love. They must believe in what they are called to do. They must apply themselves fully or else fail in some aspect of the duty. They must pay attention to every detail of the procedures. They will not shortchange or cut corners in their approach to the task of guarding this sacred space. They are committed.
Most of us will never guard the Tomb of the Unknowns, but in many ways we should observe the same disciplines in our love of God and Jesus Christ. Shouldn't we be immersed in preparation for our calling? Shouldn't we pay attention to the smallest details of our commission? Shouldn't we serve and protect with all of our heart? Shouldn't love of God and love of neighbors be the defining force that holds us to our task? No matter the weather, no matter the distractions and detractors, we must hold our disciplines in place and execute our calling. The apostle Paul was of this mind when he shared this with the church.
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)
I would gently add the word "women" here in the text. It is our duty to follow through in our faithwalk. We must not wither or retreat. We must not falter and quit. In standing firm, we must portray the love of Christ and serve from a sacrificial standpoint. We must figuratively become soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown. But instead of guarding a piece of property in Virginia, we are called to maintain the faith in Christ and promote Him wherever we go. It is no small thing to defend the faith from distractions and detractors.
It is evident that most of Paul's writings were directed toward churches who were under attack from outsiders intent on diminishing the message of the Gospel of Christ. Practically every letter he wrote was encouraging the believers to be bold in the faith and stand firm against heresies and such. A well know quote from missionary Jim Elliot should be our driving theme as believers. "He is no fool who gives
what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
What will we give in service to the King? Hopefully, we respond with this, "Here am I, send me."
PS: Say a prayer for my friend Steven who recently started boot camp. Thanks!