Common Ground, By Gabe Delarosa
So many men from all over the country with so many different problems share two very true similarities.
Whether they served in one of our branches of service in the military or one of many first responder professions, one thing that is clear is the commitment such men make to serve. They are not much different from the men we read in the bible.
A good example of what that looks like is when Paul wrote to a young pastor named Timothy, encouraging him to exhibit staying power and telling him to “endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” – 2 Timothy 2:3. Paul wrote to this young man at the time to be encouraged and to remain steady in his focus, his purpose, and commitment – just as one would expect from a soldier.
What is the appeal of enduring hardship? Enduring hardship means to suffer together with someone. Military men today are taught to stand firm and to always stand together, to work as a collective team, to always watch each other’s backs.
The connection of a military man or a first responder and a follower of Jesus Christ has an appeal to commitment, obedience and purpose. Such men are trained to follow orders with one single mind, to obey and to serve a higher purpose then themselves for any selfish gain. The New Testament message is one and the same. As a Christian follower one seeks to live the way God intended us to live with biblical values of grace, peace and righteousness. The Christ follower is called to obey and to follow the teaching of Jesus with the same kind of single-minded focus with which military men or first responders have been trained.
Earlier this month, the men that attended the Legacy program in Haymarket, Virginia, first showed up thinking they were the only ones that had been dealing with the issues that got them there. They soon realized that was not the case, and the bond they once had when they served was once again with them. But now they had the single-minded focus to want to obey and follow Jesus and to strengthen that relationship they once had, or perhaps never had, with God.
To recap the two similarities these men came to the session with even if they didn’t know it: first, that they were not alone in their struggles and second, the answer to all of those who suffer is having a relationship with their creator and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
“When Faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes.”
-Thomas S. Monson