I love movies. Especially any that portray history in an authentic way. I have always been a fan of the Band of Brothers series that played in the early 2000’s on HBO. They have become a tradition that my wife and I watch at least once a year. We love how the ten-part series revolves around more than one character. Each episode centers on a different character who played an important role in the war. As the story goes on, you still see each character, but they just have less of a focus in every other episode.
One of my favorite characters is Sergeant Lipton, the company’s first sergeant who played a major role in the 101st Airborne in WWII. The company had made it out of a seemingly impassible area where they didn’t have much food or proper clothing and were in an area surrounded by the enemy. They spent quite some time there and it was wearing the men down. Sergeant Lipton was always there to make sure the men were doing okay and helped to raise morale. During this episode, his company was led by what was shown as a poor leader. Yet with all of this leader’s shortcomings, Sergeant Lipton seemed to be a crucial part of what kept the men together. Upon removal of the poor leader, they received a new leader and Lipton made a comment to him how he was thankful the men finally had a good leader. The new company commander responded with the comment that the men always had a good leader – it was him – Sergeant Lipton. He was the true leader when the other seemed to fall short.
This got me thinking – Lipton, during the actual place in time the war existed, had no idea that eventually a movie would be made of all of his strengths and qualities as a leader. He never thought that he would be revealed to a new generation who would see him simply as a hero; he just owned the role he was given in his life.
He owned his story.
I have had many times in my life when I would pray for God to do great things and then I would wait. I would do life, begrudging and frustrated because God had not opened the door to the next big thing. I would simply wait for God to make the next move. I realize that this is not normally how God works. He waits for us to own our story.
I need to own my story.
Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14 knew that he needed to act fast with the Philistines and he took action – he did not wait around for a clear yes or no. He walked up to the Philistines ready to take them on with his armor bearer. His words even seemed facetious as he went towards them
“ it may be that the Lord will work for us…” . He didn’t wait for the right time. He simply owned his story and moved on what he did know: he had a God who was for him as evidenced by his final remarks “ for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.”
David as a boy saw a giant berating the men of Israel while dishonoring God. David could have simply looked away and gone back home, but instead he saw the opportunity to take action – he owned his story.
The truth applies to us now.
We are at a crossroad.
We are not guaranteed tomorrow – the book of James talks about the truth that our life is a vapor and we don’t have a promise for tomorrow. If it all ended today, could we say that we owned our story? Once we accept the value of our story, we can begin to help others own theirs. Without Jonathan, the armor bearer may never have had the heroic tale to tell.
I pray that today we both would move with purpose toward owning the story that God has placed us in and realize that we did all we could with the time we were given.