An astounding 16 million soldiers, sailors and Marines served America in the Second World War.
And while most of our focus on World War II is on the military and combat, within the United States, there was an effort to support the war unlike anything our nation had seen or has seen since.
With millions going overseas, Americans at home took up new jobs.
Coming out of the Great Depression, unemployment dried up, reaching an all time low in 1944.
The war effort affected virtually every facet of American life. Companies shifted their manufacturing efforts to supporting the war and supplying the military. Maytag went from making washing machines to making parts for airplanes. Firestone Tires made artillery shells and aluminum containers for food transport.
Products like sugar, butter, bacon, and cheese were rationed. As were penicillin and other medicines, along with rubber and certain types of metals. Materials for clothing such as silk and nylon were needed for uniforms. Everything went to supporting a cause that was so much bigger than any one person.
And everyone’s contributions mattered.
To help pay for the war, the government sold war bonds. Over 85 million Americans purchased war bonds to help fund the effort. To put that in perspective, that was more than half of the entire United States population at the time.
An incredible effort.
The church has a mission
As Christians, we too are called to be part of a cause that is far bigger than any of us, but where everyone has a role, where everyone has a job to do, where everyone has a way to serve.
The mission of God on earth.
And that mission is to spread the gospel. To make disciples. To build up the church. To love one another.
It’s not a passive request in scripture, nor is it a good suggestion, but something which God commands from all of his people.
If you’re a person who has placed faith in Jesus, this applies to you.
As the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
You belong to Jesus when you place your faith in him.
And part of the purpose of the Christian life is one that is lived in service of God for the mission of God in the world.
You were made to have an impact
Do you ever feel like you were made for something great?
Do you ever feel like you were meant to have an impact?
You are made for more, you are made to do great things, you are born to have an impact in the world.
An impact for Jesus.
We can try to build our own kingdoms, we can try to collect our own toys, we can try to control and manipulate the circumstances in our lives to make us feel secure.
We can do those things.
But we were made to serve the mission of Christ in the world.
And that includes sharing the gospel, making disciples, making Jesus known, growing together as His Church, and serving God.
As a church, every person in the church is called to use the ways God has gifted and equipped them for the purpose of serving God and building up the church.
That’s why we’re here.
Writing to the Church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul said:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Maybe you’ve never really thought about that.
But all Christians are given Spiritual gifts.
Doesn’t matter how well you know the Bible.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a Christian. There’s no probationary period before you can God.
It doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how outgoing you are, or how many people you know.
It doesn’t matter how talented you think you are.
If you’re a Christian, God has given you gifts to serve him and build up his church.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have nothing to offer.
I think that’s the reason why some people don’t serve.
Because everyone here has much to offer. Much to contribute.
It can be easy to see a really talented pastor, a really gifted musician, someone who’s really outgoing, and to feel insecure about what you have to offer.
But the unsung heroes are the backbone of congregations, people faithfully and humbly serving. Books get written about generals, but the real work is done by soldiers.
Originally published June 18, 2018
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Josh Benner has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has served churches in Minnesota and Illinois. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in St. Louis.