June 09, 2009

Walking Worthy

Written By Cary Schmidt

Are we willing to honor a living Saviour the way we honor deceased soldiers?

Colossians 1:10, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing…”

There is often debate amongst Christians about “standards of living” and there is a pervasive thought among Christian today that says, “I will do as I please, because I am under grace.” Whether in music, dress, lifestyle, entertainment, or even morals—many have adopted a “have it your way” brand of Christian living under the guise that God only cares about our hearts.

The fault in this thinking is that God gives such clear biblical instruction on our lifestyle—commanding us to live and walk godliness and holiness. This is called integrityauthenticity—being the same on the outside as you are on the inside. A godly heart should produce a godly lifestyle—a life that truly “walks worthy.” Yet, in this day, many Christians disregard their calling that they might “live unto themselves” (2 Cor. 5:15).

Recently, I had the privilege to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC. While our group made its way up the hill toward the tomb, we looked up some information on the guards. As we read, we were amazed at the sacrifice and requirements that the Army has placed on all those who would serve in the sacred capacity of guarding the tomb. This position of service is no small responsibility or honor, and with it comes a great degree of personal commitment. These are some of the requirements for tomb guards:

  • Guards are required to memorize 16 pages of information about Arlington Cemetery.
  • Guards are required to know the locations and names of 300 graves.
  • Guards are required to shave twice daily.
  • Guards cut their hair every two days—on their off day.
  • Guards are required to pass a 100 question test, a uniform test, and a guard change sequence test.
  • The badge awarded after passing the test can be revoked if guards ever dishonor their oath.
  • Guards must be between 5’10” and 6’2″ in height.
  • A guard’s waste size cannot exceed 30 inches.
  • Guards must commit two years of their lives to guard the tomb.
  • During their service, guards must live in barracks under the tomb.
  • Guards cannot drink alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives.
  • Guards make a vow not to swear in public for the rest of their lives.
  • During his first six months, a guard cannot speak to anyone or watch TV.
  • Off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington.
  • Guards take five to six hours to prepare their uniforms.
  • A guard’s uniform must be completely free of wrinkles, folds, or lint.
  • A guard’s uniform is solid wool and is worn year-round regardless of temperature.
  • Guards are on duty regardless of weather conditions (including hurricanes).
  • There is a meticulous 21 step ritual with a 21 second pause that is carefully repeated.
  • There is a detailed changing of the guard procedure that is followed precisely.
  • The procedures are followed whether spectators are viewing or not.

Isn’t it interesting that the army would see TV, cursing, alcohol as dishonorable to a tomb guard. What a stark contrast to the spirit of modern day Christians in the army of the Lord. It should be convicting to think that these honorable men would make such an oath and pay such a price to “walk worthy” of their calling—all to guard the tomb of a deceased soldier. Should we not then be willing to “walk worthy of our calling” for a living Saviour!?

May God help us to recognize the high calling and responsibility that we have to be His ambassadors on this earth! May we represent Him—not as we please, but as He pleases.

2 Timothy 2:4, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” 

1 Thessalonians 2:12, “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”