The Man in the Arena
Jesus placed a very high emphasis on faithfulness. In a parable regarding the subject, He stated that this virtue would be part of our welcome into Heaven: “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” (Matthew 25:21)
In today’s post, I’m doing something I’ve been planning for quite some time. I want to honor the faithful intercessors and other front-liners who have worked diligently to see the purposes of Christ accomplished in America. Most of you are never paid a penny for your labors, never receive glowing introductions, and will never stand on a stage. You’re the nameless, faceless heroes the prophets assured us were coming. Thank God you’re here. Your best days are ahead of you.
The great leader, orator, and statesman, Winston Churchill, was known for his ability to bolster the spirits and determination of the British people during the harsh days of World War II. On October 31, 1942, he was addressing a conference of coal-mine operators and miners in Westminster’s Central Hall. Compared to some of Churchill’s speeches, this one seemed like nothing extraordinary, not until his ending, that is:
“We shall not fail, and then someday, when children ask, ‘What did you do to win this inheritance for us, and to make our name so respected among men?’ One will say: ‘I was a fighter pilot’; another will say: ‘I was in the Submarine Service’; another: ‘I marched with the Eighth Army’; a fourth will say: ‘None of you could have lived without the convoys and the Merchant Seamen’; and you in your turn will say, with equal pride and with equal right: ‘We cut the coal.’” (1)
With absolutely no fear of being sensationalistic or exaggerating the truth, I say to the intercessors and active “coal-cutters”: Thank you for furthering the cause of Christ and helping save the world from evil and tyranny. Helping to restore America back to her destiny IS essential to saving the nations. Ronald Reagan was accurate when he said of America: “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”(2)
Reagan had a good reason for stating this. Though we in America are not more loved or special to God than other nationalities, we do play a unique role. And we must not fail. If we persevere in our assignment, WE WILL NOT FAIL.
I recently heard a quote implying that our yieldedness to God is more important than our actions or efforts. May I respectfully say that this is a half-truth. Our yieldedness is but one side of the coin. The converse side of the coin is the hard work side - the “Go ye” side - the “coal-cutting” side. Without this half of the coin, it’s a counterfeit.
In late 2020 and early 2021, I listened as effort-less believers mocked, ridiculed, and criticized others who worked tirelessly for the ideals and principles - not for a person or political party - in which they believed so passionately. Those ideals, of course, included the lives of millions of babies in the womb. I am not contending that they all did so perfectly, just that they “did so.”
And I want to say “thank you.”
Some of you were like Eleazar in Scripture, one of David’s mighty men, who fought the enemies of Israel until his hand clung to the sword (2 Samuel 23: 9-10). They had to peel Eleazar’s fingers from the sword after the battle. When he could no longer hold on with his physical strength, he held on with his heart. I have watched some of you weep through bloodshot eyes, pray through the night, fast for days on end, and spend thousands of your hard-earned dollars to see the purposes of God established in our nation. I will never fault or criticize you, the Eleazars of the Kingdom, for perhaps misinterpreting a dream, misstating a fact or praying an imperfect prayer. God has never required perfection, and your efforts did not go unnoticed in Heaven. You are today’s “mighty men and women.”
I have watched others of you stand in the rain and snow for hours with a piece of red LIFE tape covering your mouths. Others of you have adopted unwanted babies or children, preserving their destinies and giving them families. Still, others have supported these actions financially. You are my heroes - I am humbled by your sacrifices and commitment. Thank you for your coal-stained faces. You all are important reasons we are the “post-Roe generation.” Had there been more of you, perhaps some of the other cataclysmic issues of our day would now be overcome. My prayer is that your ranks grow.
In conclusion, I dedicate the following quote from Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt to you, the “doers.” Roosevelt’s statement was made on April 23, 1910, in a speech originally entitled, “Citizenship In A Republic.” The speech is now best known as “The Man In the Arena.” This incredible leader, who once gave a speech while bleeding from just having been shot in the chest, spoke of people like you:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”(3)
To you, the coal-cutters of the Kingdom, we say thank you.
Pray with me:
Father, You are not impressed with our gifts and talents. They came from You, after all. What You appreciate and need is our faithfulness. You equated greatness with servanthood, not with notoriety or influence. Prayer changes the world, and You said do it in the secret place. We thank You for the faithful, hidden ones in the Kingdom - the doers, the givers, the goers.
May the coming season in the church be known as “the believers' movement.” Deliver us from showbiz Christianity, platform-driven movements, and spiritual entertainment centers. Give us real Christianity, the book of Acts kind. It’s the only model You gave us.
Light a fire in Your people. Release a call to action. Give us Eleazars, spiritual “coal-cutters,” doers. Deliver the church from selfishness, laziness, and “prayerlessness.” Make us lovers AND warriors.
We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen
We declare that we are fellow laborers with God, commissioned by Christ to save the world and disciple nations.
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