Once a Disciple, always a Disciple
By Marlene Houk
1 Corinthians 15:57-58 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
The 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Amos, declared, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” The phrase has been widely used since 2010.
Once a Marine, always a Marine, the pastor proclaimed, as he honored my friend’s 87-year-old relative, a former Marine. But, as the pastor read his text (printed above), I realized that a military career illustrates a disciple’s mindset. A Marine recruit and a Christian are both trained in their mindsets.
Three words from these verses echoed in my soul: steadfast, unmovable, abounding. They remind me of a profound thought delivered in a sermon by Rev. Kurt Skelly. He described the miracle of Jesus feeding more than 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish in Matthew chapter fourteen. His point was that Jesus could have easily distributed the increased food, but He gave it to His disciples to share with the multitude.
Jesus invites us as His disciples today to build His Kingdom and enjoy serving Him in multiple ways. He wants us to share spiritual food like His disciples, 2,000 years ago, who presented the physical bread and fish. Knowing our victory over the sting of death is certain provides powerful motivation for us to infuse these three characteristics into our Christian lives. The more we commit to being “once a disciple, always a disciple,” the more fulfilled will be our joy when celebrating in God’s Kingdom. We can share in Christian victory more fully as His soldiers by standing strong in these three characteristics as disciples of Christ.
1. Being steadfast means once a disciple of Christ, always a disciple of Christ,
2. Unmovable includes a resolve to adhere to standards of the faith for a lifetime.
3. Always abounding in the work of the Lord covers a vast array of choices within which we engage our gifts, skills, experience, education, and abilities.
Part of the funeral included the honor of having the United States flag draped over his coffin. During the ceremony, the Field Commandant of the Marines and his fellow Marine, dressed in full uniform with red suitcoats displaying full medals, folded the flag. They carefully, slowly, and with great respect lay each triangle in a neat pattern one over the other. When the red was completely hidden and the triangular folding complete, the Field Commandant knelt and presented the flag to the only son.
And one day, the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, will sound the trumpet, calling His disciples home. We will enjoy the ultimate victory of being His disciple to a fuller extent for having stood, steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Once a disciple, always a disciple.
Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at Bible167@gmail.com
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