On Active Service – Christian Commitment

What is commitment?

One of the definitions of this word in my dictionary says that ‘a commitment is an engagement or duty that restricts freedom of action’

What about Christian commitment?
Aren’t we told, that to be a Christian is to be truly free?

Now join the army Mr Jones and you will find your freedom of action restricted, you will have to follow orders.

Recently like heard a sermon about Christian baptism and the passage in Romans chapter 6, where we are taught that all of us, no exceptions who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death.

“Imagine, ” the speaker said, “you are a bystander watching a squad of a a Roman soldiers marching a man through the streets, a man carrying a cross, condemned to death by crucifixion. You know, don’t you what the outcome of that committal is going to be… Well then when it comes to ourself, do we realise that we are called to same level of commitment as the man carrying the cross.”

Let’s think awhile, The Lord Jesus could have dodged his death on the cross, he could have walked
away from it any time, up until that fateful moment in Gethsemane when he accepted the cup poured to for him (and for us).

We pray, don’t we,

‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.’

Jesus showed us His Grace, by his obedience to the Father’s will, the Father showed us His Love by sending His Son to die for us, we share in the fellowship of rich love between them both by our sharing love amongst ourselves.

Paul, rich in grace himself, writes to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:3), “join with me in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”

A few days ago I was given a small gift (see picture) a replica edition of An Active Service John’s Gospel, produced by the Scripture Gift Mission during the First World War. Hundreds of thousands of these tiny books were issued to soldiers in training camps,and in tea huts, some given to the wounded by nurses, some handed out by chaplains. Designed to fit in the front pocket of a uniform they had rounded corners that wouldn’t crease and at the back a decision form. The decision form page, came to be there at the request of Chaplains. Who hoped that those who were invited to sign it would draw comfort from their gesture of commitment when facing their fears of death. We are told that very many did do this, and found comfort and peace .. we are told also that when a soldier died his possessions were returned to his family who sometimes discovered a signed decision page from a man who had, never shown any interest at all in the faith before and they too were comforted. Often the signed form in the little book was the only identification found on a body.

I have been moved by this tiny Gospel; it reminds me that I too have committed to Active Service – I pray for strength, courage and the Grace of The Lord Jesus, to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus, true to by baptism, my calling and commitment.


6 thoughts on “On Active Service – Christian Commitment

  1. What a gift of peace it would be for family members back home to receive a signed booklet. I know that it encouraged me to find my Dad’s bible open on his kitchen table the day he died. He had not read the bible while I was younger.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  2. Wow, I hadn’t ever heard about this Active Service John’s Gospel. Thanks for sharin’ about it!

    Prior to my joining the Army, one of the ladies at the Bible study I was attending had asked for others to donate their Bibles because there was a shortage of them mentioned by a co-worker who was deployed at the time. So when I went to my own basic training, I was very surprised to see many, many Bibles (New Testaments and full Bible paperbacks) amongst the books in the “Day Room” where the soldiers got to hang out for a few hours on Sundays. The thing about the book shelves there is that there are only a few number of actual books, but many Bibles. The Bibles probably outnumbered the other books 3 to 1. What was additionally saddening is that when it was time for the soldiers to go back home after their AIT training (the job training after basic training), many of them would discard their Bibles and not take them home with them. So that’s how those Bibles get accumulated in the Day Room. One female soldier even asked me if I wanted her Bible because she didn’t want to take it home. So that’s how I came to know about how there actually is now quite an abundance of Bibles for soldiers in the military. Just not many readers and those that keep them to take home for always.

    Ya know, the Bible that I actually use today is the one that I had received during my basic training. There’s a written message on the inside flap, which says for me to “Read Isaiah 40:31”, which was written by a man named Emanuel Walden who was in the Air Force. So after my training was all over, I wrote a letter to the ministry whose stamp is on the back of the cover to forward my letter to Emanuel or his family for me, in which I wanted to thank him for the Bible. Some time later, I received a letter back from Emanuel’s wife who said that he had passed away just a month before I had begun my basic training. Ya know what’s also special too? That the verse he had written down was the very verse that I kept trying to remember in my mind and kept trying to repeat to myself, every time my crazy heavy 75 lb rucksack was gonna just about kill me and whenever I’d keep tripping during marches and falling down (sprained my right ankle 13 times). I had received a Bible that had the very verse I had been seeking to remember to help me endure my Army training, by God’s grace, He had went before me then too. Hallelujah!

    1. Ah yes, He surely does go before us. You know what in my 20 s I received a very clear directive that I was called to be a pioneer … From what I recall a pioneer just goes and explores uncharted territory … As did those oldsters Abraham and Sarah! Keep pioneering…

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