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Worthy of Honor

August 7, 2019

Welcome him with Christian love and with great joy, and be sure to honor people like him. For he risked his life for the work of Christ. Philippians 2:29-30

My dad joined the Army prior to WWII. He was enjoying sunny Hawaii when he heard the drone of planes flying very low overhead. He was surprised because it was Sunday morning, and there were normally no Sunday flights or drills. He looked up and directly over his head was a plane with the unmistakable Rising Sun emblem of Japan. The pilot flew low enough that Dad could see his goggles. Within minutes, the entire base knew that Pearl Harbor, their base, was under enemy attack. It was devastating. Dad had been in the service long enough that he was at the end of his term of service, but he immediately reupped as the United States entered the war that was already engulfing Europe.

Dad ended up serving much more, risking his life over and over. He jumped in Normandy on D-Day and was part of liberating the area highlighted in The Longest Day. On June 21, 1944, Dad, Lt. James L. Mason, was wounded in 13 places. They did all that was possible for him in the triage there in Carentan, France, but these severe injuries took him out of active duty. He was sent to England to recover. He was awarded the Purple Heart and more than a half dozen other medals. From then on, Dad was a real American hero. President Bush wrote him a letter. A son of a family that was liberated by the paratroopers with whom dad served traveled from France to thank him. The admiration and honor people expressed to him over the years was awe-inspiring to see. In the last few years, I was touched repeatedly to walk with him as he was growing weaker, frail and leaning on his walker, wearing one of his WWII hats. So many people of all ages would greet him. Big strong men in the prime of life bent down to look directly in his eyes and say, “Thank you, sir, for your service and sacrifice. You are a hero.” Dad always said he felt like he grew six inches when he heard that. At his memorial service, our nation’s soldiers honored him. The nation decorates his grave, as they do the other soldiers, for all national holidays. Why? He risked his life for our nation and our cause. He served the mission. He is worthy of honor.

Epaphroditus was one of Paul’s colleagues. Paul instructed the Philippian Christians that Epaphroditus was worthy of great honor, as were all people like him who risked their lives for the cause of Christ. Can you imagine the honor he got when he walked through heaven? The honor our nation bestows on its heroes cannot compare with what will happen there. Risking our lives for the cause of Christ doesn’t just mean risking physical death, it means the death of ease and comfort. We are all called to it. We will all be honored for it. And we all have the privilege and responsibility to honor those we see giving their all to the kingdom.

  • Are you satisfied with the state of your heroic risks for the kingdom? If not, what can you do?
  • What kingdom hero could honor today for giving their life? Do it.