Are you one of those people who approach our US Servicemen and Servicewomen to say thanks? I am. I never served in the military but have fully enjoyed the freedom that others’ sacrifice and service provide, and so many times in an airport or other public place, I’ll stop and say, “Thank you for your service to our country.” I hope it is an encouragement to them.
Recently, the tables were turned.
I was meeting with a pastor at his neighborhood Panera. We were discussing the work we have been doing together — renaming his church and developing its new identity. We were discussing details of how to introduce the new identity to the congregation, including the leadership preview meetings, his sermon series, signage, ways to engage the youth group and children … lots and lots of details.
In the midst of our conversation I noticed a guy in his mid-30s at the coffee station just over the pastor’s shoulder. He was dressed in military fatigues and sported a standard-issue buzz cut. After noticing him, I returned my attention to the pastor, but soon we were interrupted.
With a purposeful walk, the serviceman approached and stood by our table. At first I noticed his name embroidered on his jacket – Kennedy. His very presence interrupted our conversation. The pastor and I turned to acknowledge him and before we could speak, Kennedy thrust his hand into mine and shook it firmly saying, “Thank you both for your service to the Lord.” He shook the pastor’s hand as well. We both said, “You’re welcome … and thank you.”
With that Kennedy turned and exited. As I ponder his words, I’m humbled to think that his service allows me to sit in Panera, enjoy a hot breakfast sandwich after sleeping in my own bed, and that today I will see my family, hug my wife and kids, that I’ll sit in the climate-controlled comfort of my office … as I live in the freedom of the United States.
Nonetheless, I don’t want to miss the blessing Kennedy has bestowed on me, and I don’t want you to miss it either. While I won’t see a foxhole today or work to the point of physical exhaustion … I am in service to the Lord, and I’m encouraged to receive Kennedy’s thank you, and I want to pass it on to you today.
Thank YOU for YOUR service to the Lord.