One of my favorite stories of history relates to the famous Duke of Wellington. Born Arthur Wellesley, Wellington was a British soldier and statesman who was nicknamed “The Iron Duke.” He became famous when, as a general, he led his troops in overcoming the armies of the French Emperor Napoleon I in Spain and Portugal. He later helped defeat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In his final years, Wellington became a leader of the Tory Party and served as prime minister.
On one occasion General Wellington had planned an operation to take a dangerous hill occupied by the enemy. As he reviewed the details of the plan he knew that when he gave the command for his men to charge, very few would come back alive. Even his stout military heart wavered at the thought.
The time finally came to share with his regiments the details of his desperate but necessary strategy that would be implemented the next morning. After covering the weighty details of the plan he shared sincerely with his soldiers, “I will turn about, and every man that is willing at daybreak to make the charge on that hill, let him take two paces forward.”
Wellington turned his back to the soldiers and waited for the men to decide. After a few moments the anxious general turned to see which soldiers had taken the step of commitment. A look of disappointment crossed his face – not even one soldier had taken a step away from the others. Observing Wellington’s look of disappointment, one of his officers explained, “Sir, do not be disheartened. Every man has taken two paces forward!”
Imagine with me for a moment if our Great Commander, the Lord Jesus Christ, were to visibly stand in our midst during a worship service and make a similar request? How would we respond? I am sure that we would hope that our response would be, “Oh, yes, I will step two paces forward for you, Lord!”
The fact is Jesus has already called us as His soldiers to take “two paces forward” – to be a part of the Great Commission assault against the forces of darkness in liberating those who are being held captive to the bondage of sin.
As we enter a new year, will you take a moment to consider what taking “two paces forward” means for you today? What commitment is Christ calling you to make? What investments demand your serious attention? As individuals, churches, and a fellowship of churches, are we willing to take “two paces forward” for the glory of our most worthy Commander and the Captain of our Souls? I invite you to join me in prayer that each step that we take as individuals followers of Christ and as churches will be accomplished in ways that will bring Christ glory and strengthen His Church.
Please pray with us that this will be a wonderful new year of glorifying and exalting Christ as an association of churches. We endeavor to encourage and edify our churches and their servants through practical ministry resources and particular initiatives. As always, we seek your input, welcome your participation, and depend upon your investment.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24 ESV)
Partnering with you in the glorious gospel of God’s grace,
MARBC Ministry Director