The steward of a household was charged with overseeing resources that fed, clothed, and employed household members. The resources belonged to the master, so stewards made business decisions in the owner’s best interest. Matthew records several of Jesus’ parables dealing with the care of God’s resources, anticipating His return, and a readiness to give an account of how talents were used (Matthew 24:36-25:46).
Similarly, Christian officers are responsible before both God and our nation to care well for the people, materials, finances, and authority with which they are entrusted. You are a steward of lives and of resources. (1 Peter 4:8-11) Each member of the military community is precious to our God and to their family and community. From our perspective, there is no better person to entrust our nation’s men, women, and resources with than Christian leaders who know that everything belongs to God. These leaders will one day give an answer to Him for how they did their work. The entire military should benefit from leaders who know their God and are humbled in that knowledge. As Paul Pettijohn, former OCF Executive Director, used to say, “You are men and women in the military serving on mission for the Master.” (Luke 12:35-48)
Stewardship continues after you leave the military. OCF has remained on mission and relevant since 1943 because leaders who have already traveled the road of uniformed service subsequently turn around and mentor, encourage, and help future generations. We are constantly welcoming new members every month even as other OCF members leave uniformed service. Because we minister within a dynamic community we cannot grow weary of saying and teaching and reminding ourselves of the same things over and over, confident that God still calls men and women to glorify Him in military service. Philippians 3:20 says, “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” but while on earth we seek the good of the people among which God has placed us (Jeremiah 29:7; Acts 17:22-31).
LOCAL CHURCH STEWARDSHIP
Since the military promotion and retention system is designed to constantly pare down the number of people who stay in uniform, be ready to transition out of service when God makes it clear that it is time to go. After transitioning, remember that you will always understand the military in ways no one else does. You can help your local church find ways to serve their military members. For example, help them stay connected with members who are preparing to go into the military as well as with those who are currently serving. If there are no military members within your church, OCF can connect you with Christians who are stationed elsewhere so that they can be mentored virtually.
Hopefully you have had time to think about why you served or are serving the nation, the role of authority and the proper use of governmental power, and even about your willingness to lay down your life for others (John 16:32-33; 1 Corinthians 15:17-26). You can start with Christ’s words, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). Take your meditations on these truths along with your experience in uniform and help encourage the next generation of laity who will go to the military mission field. Experience and age are so valuable!