This generation of youth need heroes. They need fathers, men and women they can look up to, honor, and learn from. Yet, there are not many fine examples out there today. There are those they imitate and want to be like, but 99% of those that kids idolize today, are nothing more than blind, immoral people such as actors, actresses, musicians, models, sports athletes, and more who don’t even know where they’re going!
So what are we to do? How can we teach this generation their past and about the men and women who have died, in many cases, brutal deaths so we could we could be free! Freedom is so costly, yet it is something we often take for granted.
No place in America testifies more to this than Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. For an American, there is no more honorable place to be buried than at Arlington. There rests those who died defending our and preserving our Republic. Among those we know of who are buried there, there are also those who have sacrificed their lives who are unknown. The memory of these unknown men and women is honored at what is called the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier represents unknown men and women who lost not only their lives, but also their identity, for our country.
The first unknown soldier died in battle in WWI and was interred at Arlington in 1921. He was followed by unknowns from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Today, the tomb stands in honor of 150,000 unknown soldiers for all wars, and yet if you were to ask any typical young teenager if they knew this (how many people who have sacrificed their lives for them that they don’t even know), most of them would say no.
We are not even teaching our own kids about those who died so they could be free. This is horrible! Did our veterans die in vain? Do we honor and reverence their sacrifice? Or are we partying it away like it’s no big deal—something we don’t even think about! But for some Americans and also the families of those Americans who understand and have paid the ultimate price, it is very important.
Did you know that before a soldier can even guard the tomb, he must go through thorough testing for something that is called the “Tomb Guard Badge,” which is basically like a license to be able to guard the tomb?
Their first test is how well they’ve prepared their uniform, but calling it “just an inspection” would be a dramatic understatement. Their uniforms, shoes, medals, and even the spacing of these have to be perfect. The staff sergeant will check more than 50 different aspects of their uniform! If a belt loop or “keeper,” as they call it, is off by even a 64th of an inch, that is too much and they receive what is called a “gig.”
“Gig” is the word they use for mistakes on their uniform. Any measurement that is off, piece of lint left on their uniform, button that is crooked or medal that is not shiny will cost them. They even go so far as to burn off frayed ends of clothing off their uniforms with a lighter before being tested.
One army private had creases in his uniform on the sleeve or “railroad tracks” and that was totally unacceptable. The same army private spent 8 hours alone just polishing his shoes for the test. When they actually guard the tomb, they are tested on 121 different aspects of the task. They are tested on their timing, how they hold their weapon, their posture, and complacency is never rewarded at the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” just as complacency is never rewarded at the tomb of Jesus Christ.
This is the world’s standard, and yet, what of the churches? The world expects perfection from these men and women because of whom they’re representing, those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and died for our freedom! One man working at Arlington National Cemetery said, “When they walk out those doors, they are representing 250 million Americans and saying thank you to those not only who lost their lives, but also their identity and I think we have the right to expect as close to perfection as possible.”
Yet what do most as professed Christians give the Lord? Perfection? No, their excuses; “Oh! I’m not perfect, just forgiven” or “Don’t judge me. Who are you to judge me?”
“You can’t expect me to be perfect. I’m just human!” Yet the world expects theirs to be perfect and they are only representing men! We are representing Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the ultimate soldier in God’s Kingdom who gave His own life (though He was perfect), for the sins of the whole world, yours and mine. How much more should the standard be raised for us and we be perfect?! Deuteronomy 18:13 says, “Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.”
The professed church has lowered the standard, not raised it, and what do we see because of it? A Christianity that is mocked by the world because it is no different from the world (which is not Christianity at all). It is a Christianity
that does not confront, reprove or expect to be perfected by God’s grace. The world is doing what the Christians ought to be doing.
At Arlington, there is much reverence for these soldiers because those who are there know the cost of their freedom and are willing to honor that sacrifice with the highest amount of perfection they can give those who have died. And the soldiers who go through all this thorough testing, examination, and strife volunteer for it!
They don’t have to be coerced to live for what these men and women died for, they want to because it’s in their heart to do. Are we doing the same for Christ? Are we coming to the standard of God’s commands? He paid the ultimate price, more than any soldier in the world. He died for those soldiers and for you and me. Are you living for what He died for and representing Christ as you should? If not, then you better get right with the Lord and ask Him to make you a true and living soldier of Jesus Christ.