Christians should invest their lives in others

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I've recently had the privilege and honor of officiating a funeral for a gentleman who served in both the European and Pacific theaters during World War II. We are all indebted to his service.

A few weeks prior I was able to sit down and talk with a man about his World War II experience. He along with the flight crew he served with survived a crash in the Northern Atlantic. The crew was only trained so that they could survive for about 30 minutes in the frigid waters. The crew survived 12 hours.

The first people they saw when they made land fall were a troop of German soldiers. They had never been so happy to see the enemy. For the next year or so the crew spent their days surviving as prisoners of war in Germany.

In the little town I live in, a funeral (which I was not a part of) was held for a man who survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor on the USS Nevada. He was able to recount escaping this devastating attack.

It is my honor to know these men. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 1,100 World War II veterans die every day. Before we know it, this generation will be gone and their experiences will be limited to the history books.

Listening to their firsthand accounts and the accounts as relayed by others was inspiring. Each served in different units and different fronts yet there was one common thread that connected them: faith. It was their faith that sustained them. Faith that encouraged them. Faith that enabled them to endure the darkest hours.

Without their counsel, my faith would continue to be regulated to my seemingly sterile experiences.

Proverbs 11:14 reminds us, "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."

In other words, counselors from those whose experience supersedes my own might actually have something vital to say to whatever it is I am addressing. The faith of these three who saw more tragedy in a few years that I will see in my lifetime speaks volumes to my problems.

Faith was never meant to live in a vacuum. Christians are to both invest their lives in others and be invested in. Safety comes with many counselors.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.

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