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Stephen A. Peterson
Anyone who has ever been a member of a United States Army Basic Training Unit knows that the majority of trainees know little or nothing about working together as a military unit. Realizing this deficit, Sergeant Brady Holt utilized a test to assess the knowledge and skill of his four day old Army trainees. Drill Sergeant Holt instructed the Privates to listen up as he read the instructions. As he read instructions, five Privates began talking and laughing with nearly peers. Rather than make on the spot corrections, Drill Sergeant Holt continued reading instructions. Once completed, the Drill Sergeant commanded slowly and loud: “From front to rear, count off!” Next he stated” “Even numbers, stand fast! Odd numbers, about face! At ease! Now shake the hand of the person across from you. Salute the person in front of you. Platoon, attention! Even numbers, stand fast! Odd numbers, about face!”
Although Sergeant Holt gave clear and distinct instructions and commands, Privates, especially the five who paid no attention to his instructions, made directional mistakes; failed to shake the hand of the person in front of them; and presented a variety of hand salutes to their peers nowhere near Army standards. This young Army unit performed in a very un-military manner—laughter by some, statements of “excuse me” or “sorry”, as well as out of sink in-rank movements.
Following the brief exercise, Drill Sergeant called the platoon to attention then made his announcement. “I’ve taken inventory of who did what. Those Privates who failed to follow instructions and my commands have received a ‘No Go’. Those Privates who correctly followed my instructions and commands received a ‘Go’. You who received a ‘Go’ will tutor the ‘No Goes’. Privates who continue to fail basic instructions and Army procedure, you will not graduate from Basic Training. You will either be re-cycled or put out of the Army as undesirable. Those of you who fail to graduate for failure to listen and learn from your mistakes, it will be no one’s fault but your own. You have and will be given every opportunity to succeed. Do you understand, Privates!”
When one looks across American society, one sees a small but vocal number of people and their representatives who have no desire to listen to the instructions of advocates of personal responsibility for their lives nor do they care to listen to the simple laws of God that demonstrate personal success through history when implemented. For it is easier to blame others for their lack of success as evil, greedy, racists. Many of these do not want to put forth any effort. They are willing to permit others, especially centralized government, to illicitly confiscate the earned property of others to give those what they do not deserve. What are on stage are class envy and an attempt to justify covetiveness. This the sinful violation of the Ten Commandments of God not to covet our neighbor’s property. Every person, regardless of their intellectual level, can assess or have help in assessing their God given talents, skills and abilities. Contentment, satisfaction or happiness is not predicated on surpluses of money, wealth and power.
Like Drill Sergeant Holt, we must first examine our possibilities, pray about our personal assessment or assessments and then wait for God’s instructions. God will answer in due time. However, if we sit about doing nothing and complain about not having our needs or wants fulfilled, we only have ourselves to blame. Matthew 6:26 is often quoted that the birds of the air do not sow or reap or store anything and that God takes care of them. This is true. But when has anyone observed God building a net for a bird or putting food in its nest? The point is that birds must do their part in order to survive and build their nest and search for food. Humans must likewise do their part in life and living rather than whine about what they do not have especially when no effort is put forward.
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