Saturday, May 2, 2009

THE TRAVELING TESTAMENT

WELL USED--BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
“How long have you been a minister?” My friend Ed asked. At which time I told him.
Afterwards, my thought was directed to my ministerial mentor who had come to Christ during a fierce battle during World War II. Beforehand he had found a Testament lying beside a new replacement that had just been killed on his first day in battle and my friend placed it in his pocket. “Just a boy,” he often told me. A short time later he was hit by a shell that went through his left shoulder wrapping his left arm and hand around his neck and knocking out the little New Testament. The cry from this sergeant was, “If you will get me to a hospital today I will serve you.” Within minutes a medic was in the trench with him and noticed his hand tightly grasping the little Bible.
After telling my mentors story, my coffee partner “Giff” shared with me what had happen to him and his brothers during their war experiences.
Giff said, “In 1945, at age 18, I was inducted into the Army at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri. At this time I was presented a small Gideon Testament. I immediately wrote my name and home address on the inside cover. I carried this Bible with me to Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and then back to Korea.
“Upon my second visit to Korea I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of my younger brothers was stationed there as well. I was fortunate to see him for a week before I was scheduled to return home. We spent some happy hours together and before I was to leave to come home I gave him my little Bible. I requested he take good care of it and bring it home with him. Several months later he and the Bible both came home safely.”
“By this time a second younger brother had joined the Armed Forces and was preparing to leave for Japan. So, I gave him the small Bible and it was again sent overseas and he in turn brought it back safely.
“It was now time for a third younger brother who had joined the Air Force to leave for overseas. That small Bible was again on its way to another foreign country. Now somewhat worn and showing age from it’s many travels with sad homesick men; who had turned it’s small pages so often and had jotted notes or memos of friends and countries never to be forgotten.”
Then Giff concluded, “Four years later the “Word of God” again returned home with the fourth son. Out of six brothers, four had carried this small Testament wherever the military had taken them. After thirteen years of military duty; slightly ruffled and worn that Bible is again at home with me. It has served its country and my family well; and along with all its memories is one of my most treasured possessions.”
What a story! I thought. God had traveled in their pockets everywhere they had gone and had spoken or blessed them as they needed it. And that is exactly what the Bible does for those who believe and trust it. It reflects what Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Testaments like these have been given to millions of soldiers and were the comfort they needed in dangerous or lonely times. Only God knows how many died with one his pocket or hand and buried with him on foreign soil.
Over the course of the last 35 years I have seen many monuments to war, famous Generals, or the unknown warriors buried on foreign soil. Thousands of dollars has been spent to portrait such hero’s and rightly so.
However, today I want to salute a warrior that has gone, but little has been said about it. That little testament!
“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”-- 1 John 2:5-20
“But he said,….blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” --Luke 11:28

1 comment:

Dock said...

Alton,

Thank you for the blessing of this testimony. As a Gideon, it is a GREAT encouragement to see God's Word working in the lives of men, women, boys and girls. Imagine . . . That God's Word is doing just what the Lord promised. We are often given statistics of how many people a single copy of God's Word can reach, but that little guy went well beyond the expected call of duty. Praise God!