Often times we, as Soldiers of the Cross, fail to remember those who first recognized our potential and fought so hard to push us to where we’re serving today.
We remember our commanding officers — those with vision, wisdom, experience, conviction and profound leadership. They keep the big picture always before us.
We remember our fellow soldiers — those who fought beside us through so many battles, those who had our backs, those that never quit. Those we still call friend today.
We remember those who love us, perhaps a boyfriend or girlfriend — or our spouse or parent. Their unconditional belief in us, encouraging words, and always open embrace, kept us going forward and helped us remember that there was purpose in what we were doing.
But what about “Sarge?”
We rarely hear the war hero talk about the person who saw potential in them when no one else did. The person who built discipline, oh yes – painful discipline, into him when it wasn’t appreciated or understood. The person who taught him how to run the race to win, to fight a vicious enemy, and to be determined to never quit.
Yes, the drill sergeant, had to risk your hate, anger and misunderstanding. He is well aware that he will be forgotten, or only remembered for the negative, hard to do, expectations or demands. He’s okay when you go on to greater ranks and multiple accolades while he remains back and starts again.
It may seem hard to believe, but he loves you and more importantly, he loves the cause for which he is training you!
He also must be comfortable with the understanding that some will quit while under his command. This is a painfully necessary part of the process. And he, with sober resolve and sadness, realizes that these individuals will always blame him for their failure.
Like, John the Baptist, the drill sergeant is a forerunner – preparing the way – with wilderness lessons, crazy disciplines, hard words, radical living and unique practices.
Most soldiers are only under his command for a small portion of the war. The drill sergeant doesn’t promote and rarely applauds. He trains, by example, and pushes you harder (not easier) the longer you’re with him. You’re survival, and a win for the cause, is his priority.
The commanding officer will, eventually, recognize you’re readiness and send you to a new assignment or battle field. And, you may ultimately, out-rank the very sergeant who first saw your potential.
If you’re still fighting & serving today: be grateful for your drill sergeant. No, he didn’t make you – but he was certainly part of your spiritual formation. You may do things differently than him and you may not have enjoyed the trials of discipline & training. But, you’re alive! Press on, fight to the finish… WIN!
If you’re not serving the cause today: don’t blame the drill sergeant. He was simply doing his job. Find a mirror and look into your own eyes – be honest – take responsibility. You can still get in the battle and ultimately join with many in the victory. But, this will still require a drill sergeant. Approach this necessary process and key individual(s) different this time around.
Discipleship is hard, messy and unpopular at times. Yet, it’s absolutely necessary. Christ requires it. It makes us into warriors of righteousness and servants of the King.
I’m a drill sergeant. I make disciples. My calling is apostolic.
I love every soldier who has served with me for a year, five years, a decade and beyond! I’m proud of those who are fighting hard in the battle and I pray for those injured, angry and out of the battle. I’m thankful that many still love me. And, I’m truly sad that some don’t even like me. I love both and pray for them often. Doing God’s will means choosing obedience over popularity.
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10
I’m imperfect in many ways. Out-ranked by many people. But striving to improve every day.
I love the cause of Christ. I’m enlisted for life!
The war rages on. More soldier disciples are needed.
My job is never done.
Honored to Serve,
*Disclaimer: I’ve never served in our actual military and do not claim that all of my comparisons or analogies are completely accurate as they pertain to the armed forces. Please pardon my ignorance and accept this post as it was intended. Thanks.