Monday, February 18, 2013

Character Building: Faithfulness

I want to have faithfulness to my God – and I have that through the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God and the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

I strive to remain faithful to my wife – and have been for over 22 years.

I live with faithfulness to my three sons, being a father to them as God is a Father to me.

How do you live with faithfulness? One way that I have found is by learning from those who have been faithful in the past.

There has been at least 5000 years worth of men and women who have been faithful from whom we can learn faithfulness.

The Bible says

…[They], through faith, conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. – Hebrews 11:33-34

I’ve often wondered what it must have been like for men like my grandfather to return home from the war. I can imagine if felt like they were in the army forever, fighting forever, sleeping in the heat or cold and mud forever.

Dad Army[3]But by 1949 my grandfather had been home longer than he had been away. He would live another forty years! He would be a faithful husband and father and grandfather until his death in the late 80’s. I wish I could have known him better.

I recently watched the last episode of “Band of Brothers.” At the end the actor Daniel Lewis performs a voice-over that details what each of the men did after the war. When he got to Frank Perconte, a tear came to my eye. Perconte was from Chicago. And when he came home from the war, he became a mailman.

Just like my grandfather.

It is men like Perconte, Dick Winters, Shifty Powers, and my grandfather, that inspire me the most to be the man I try to be today.

They did extraordinary things a long time ago, then became regular men living regular lives.

But there was nothing regular about them, really.

They were called by their country to defend it from enemies without. They were faithful to their country.

Then they came home and faced being faithful to their families, their friends, and, for many of them, to God.

I wonder if it was hard to remain faithful after a war. I’m thinking about those who endure a war – whether it is a year or two or four or more.

I can imagine that someone who was in a war for two years would then take at least two years after it ends to recover. But how does one remain faithful when you live more of life in peacetime than you did in fighting a war?

It seems the best thing to do is to find someone who is doing that or has done that. Those who lived in the generations before us can teach us a lot about this. But we have to take the time to learn these lessons.

Because there will come a time when we are the generation someone is going to learn from.

A Christian remains faithful through the power of the Holy Spirit working through Word and Sacrament.

I start there, learning how to be faithful to my God. I will then have the means to live a life of faithfulness to my wife and children and, if called upon, to the next generation.

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