October 23, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: He Fights

During the Civil War, one of the biggest problems President Lincoln faced, was finding a Commanding General who would actually fight.

Along with his support, Lincoln gave his Generals both the men and materials they needed to be successful.

These Commanding Generals spent much time training their troops and strategizing about war.

However, to borrow a cowboy term, they were all hat and no cattle! Consequently, President Lincoln went through a string of Commanding Generals, such as Scott, McClellan, and Halleck before he finds one who will actually fight: General Ulysses S. Grant.

At the Battle of Shiloh, Grant fought one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Things didn’t go well for him and there were numerous calls for Lincoln to replace him. President Lincoln fended off demands for his removal by saying, “I can’t spare this man – he fights!”

In the Bible, in the book of 1st Samuel chapter 17, you will find the story of David & Goliath. You know the story. Goliath was a Philistine giant who had King Saul and his army cowered down and afraid to fight.

King David, who was just a shepherd boy at the time, came to visit his brothers on the battlefield and bring them supplies from home. He sees how King Saul and his army are terrified of the giant and asks, “Is there not a cause?”

And when nobody else would take up the fight, he did!  After refusing all the armor King Saul tried to dress him in, he went to the brook, selected five smooth stones, and went out onto the battlefield to face Goliath, Armed only with his sling, those five stones, and his belief that his cause was just and that he was anointed of God to be there, he engage in the battle.

In other words, he fought! And not only did he engage in the battle, if you will read the story closely, you’ll find that when he engaged Goliath, he was actually running toward him! And of course, you know that the rock from David’s sling hit Goliath in the forehead and knocked him out. David then took Goliath’s own sword and cut his head off. Again, he fought! You see, you don’t win if you don’t fight!

It was President Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty … I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

Wow! Reread that quote. He envied people who lived difficult lives – but lived them well! In short, to live a life worth living means we have to fight for some things!

2019 is quickly fading into history.  And as it does, an entire decade of life fades with it. Therefore, we find ourselves standing on the cusp of both a New Year and new decade.

In retrospect, I suppose that during the last year and decade all of us have faced and lived through times and situations when we were like President Lincoln’s Commanding Generals and King Saul’s Army – all hat and no cattle, cowered down before the giants of our lives, refusing to fight. (The truth hurts, doesn’t it?)

As we face a New Year and a new decade, we need to do some self-examination and determine which battles in our lives are worth fighting for.

We need to stop cowering before our giants, take a trip to the brook and gather our ammunition, boldly step out onto the battlefield, knowing our cause is just and we are anointed to be there, engage the enemy in the battle, run toward him, let our flip rip, knock out our enemy, and cut his head off!

Oh yeah, just as with General Grant at Shiloh, there will come times when the battle doesn’t go so well. But let us purpose in our hearts that God will say of us, as President Lincoln said of Grant, “I can’t spare him – he fights!”

Brother Aaron 

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