4 Veterans Day faith lessons

Display of flags in the church lobby at Shepherd of the Hills. Each flag was sponsored in honor of a member of our military.

Happy Veterans Day!

One of the joys of ministry in San Antonio is hanging around so many wonderful retired and active duty military. These men and women have seen a lot and done a lot. I’ve always had a strong appreciation for our military because of my family members who have served our nation. My appreciation has grown even more through all of the relationships I’ve come to enjoy over the years of ministry here in Military City USA.

As I think about our veterans, I see faith lessons that we can learn from our servicemen and women. Whether our troops realize it or not, they can be reminders of Christian virtues, even of the Gospel itself.

Here are four faith lessons we can draw from those who serve in our military:

1. Our servicemen and women remind me of some of the most vivid images for the Christian life. The Bible teaches us to “fight the good fight,” “put on the armor of God,” and to be a “good soldier” for the Lord. (2 Timothy 4:7, Ephesians 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:3-4) Spiritual warfare is real. In writing his epistles, St. Paul saw a Roman soldier as an analogy for fighting spiritual battles. Each of us is a warrior for Christ.

2. Our servicemen and women remind me of virtues highlighted in Scripture. Our troops are given hard work to do. The Bible shapes our mindset about hard work: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23) Our troops are required to obey orders. Obedience is part of following God: “I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.” (Psalm 119:60) Our troops are called upon to show courage. As Christians, we can overcome fear and be brave: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

3. Our servicemen and women remind me of Jesus and His sacrifice. Our troops sacrifice a lot. Many of them live far away from family for extended periods of time. They live in conditions less than luxurious. They place themselves in harm’s way. The Gospel is the story of a Savior who left the presence of His Father to dwell among people, who traded the glories of heaven for the sorrows of earth, and who placed Himself in harm’s way, directly in the path of people who despised Him. Some of our troops make the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives while serving our country. Jesus gave His life while serving you and me. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

4. Our servicemen and women remind me of the freedom that is ours in Christ. The rights we enjoy as citizens of this nation are incredible. Even greater is the spiritual freedom God gives us as citizens of heaven. The Bible teaches that we are freed from sin and free to live for God. Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) Anyone who values freedom will find the highest freedom in what Christ gives us by faith in Him.

Today on Veterans Day, I give thanks for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces because of what they do for us. I also give thanks for God’s gifts that come to mind when I think of our troops.

Thank you to all of our veterans!

And above all, thanks be to God for our greatest Hero, Jesus!

Author: Christopher Kennedy

Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, School, and Child Care in San Antonio, Texas. Husband to my beloved Ashley. Dad to the four most wonderful children in the world.

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