Eisenhower, Privates, and God

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 1 Corinthians 12:18-20

General Eisenhower once chewed out one of his generals for having referred to a soldier as “just a private.” In the course of that tongue-lashing, Eisenhower went on record as saying the Army could probably function better without its generals than it could without its infantry. Eisenhower concluded, “If this war is won, it will be won by privates.”

Eisenhower understood that little things are not always so little. For example, I recently heard a story about a curious ten-year-old boy. Fascinated by his grandfather’s pocket watch, the boy, in a moment of foolish eagerness, had taken the watch apart. The family said he also managed to put it together again, with the exception of a very small and seemingly insignificant gear.

I don’t have to tell you that without the gear the watch didn’t run.

In some ways the same thing can be said about the Church. Now before I go any further, it must be stated that God’s grace, our forgiveness, redemption and salvation are not dependent upon anything we do. These are all gracious gifts from God.

That being said, the church functions far better when all God’s people are using the talents the Lord has bestowed upon them. Now you and I are fully aware the Holy Spirit has given us great preachers, and mega-churches headed by powerful leaders, and wealthy sponsors who are able to finance great programs.

Some of these servants of the Lord do wonderful work.

Even so, if the Savior’s story of salvation is to go everywhere God wants it to go, if it is to accomplish all He wants it to do, if it is to reach as many people as He wishes, it will happen when both the generals and the privates are working in harmony.

To paraphrase Eisenhower, if the individual battles against evil are going to be won, it will be the power of the Holy Spirit working through those enlisted in God’s service — that is, the regular Joes and Janes — the one-gift Christians, who are the backbone of His Church.

This maybe, in part, explains why, when Jesus picked the men who were going to take the message of salvation and grace to the world He selected some fishermen, a tax-collector, a religious zealot, and a number of other seemingly unspectacular individuals.

But by God’s grace, will and power look at what they accomplished. God used them to turn the world upside down. I believe He will do no less with us, His present-day disciples.

Dear Lord, use me, a poor, miserable-but-forgiven sinner, an old retired preacher, to continue to advance your kingdom as you live and move and have your being in me. Help me to live in such a way that, even though being of low rank in your work, you will give me all I need to touch your people with your grace, in and through Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace


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