Anglican Morning Devotion, 28 May 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? 15And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:13-15)
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
There are a number of characteristics that define a good and responsible leader. The considerate care of subordinates is one which was practiced in the officer corps when I was a young officer. It was customary for an officer or an NCO to refuse to eat until his soldiers were fed. I hope that commendable practice is still current in the military forces today, but it probably is not.
Another characteristic of a leader is to lead from the front (unlike a recent cowardly leader of the United States whose self-pronounced policy it was to ‘lead from behind’). A good leader will never ask his subordinates to do anything he would not do, or has done. He is willing to face the greater danger by leading to the front in the line of battle.
The motto of the Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Georgia, is comprised of only two words: “Follow me!” The everlasting annals of the infantry are replete with heroic actions of the leader who advanced under withering fire at the head of his troops and was first to perish. There are unsung heroes of whose sacrifice we may never know whose lives were offered, unheralded, on some dismal battlefield, Some were young, some were older, and some were merely private soldiers whose honor and character shine brightly in the unwritten records of the Book of Life.
I know One such leader whose stainless character, dauntless courage, and abiding love for His followers is above reproach. We know Him as the Lord Jesus Christ. He asks that we follow Him – not because He needs our company, but because we need His. He has walked in all the rocky ruins and barren wilderness areas that His followers must walk. He has done more to provide for us than any other could do, or was even willing to do. Being innocent of any sin, He bore our own sins on His flesh-torn back on the cross at Calvary. He came into our camp while we were His depraved enemies. But He brought the greatest weapon in His arsenal to subdue our hatred and rebellion – the weapon of LOVE.
This Beloved Captain of our Souls also gave the simple command, “Follow Me!” He warned us of the severity of the battle, and the burden we must bear in our cross, but He is always with us to bear our heavy load and to urge us on to victory. He has faced all the humiliation, torture, and rejection that the enemy can mount against us. He even died in our place and defeated death and Hell. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. When we follow Him, we will be on the Beautiful Way where no danger can threaten. Though we may bear the wounds and depravations of a soldier of the battle, we are in constant awe of the sacrifice our Leader has made for us. There is not a single battle we have fought in which He was not right beside. His wounds have always been greater than ours, and His sacrifice of Himself on our behalf are battle streamers on His Ensign.
He is a gentle Captain who administers discipline in love. “ 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:” (Hebrews 12:2-5)
“The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes.” (Deuteronomy 1:30) Soldiers of the cross, Fall in, and “Follow Me!”