There is a great scene from the classic Civil War movie “Gettysburg.” It features one of the great Union heroes of the Civil War – a Colonel Chamberlain from Maine. Professor Chamberlain was a scholar and teacher at Bowdoin College. He left that job and his young family behind in order to fight for a cause for which he was willing to give his very life.
A group of disgruntled Maine veterans, having not received the pay they had been promised and having served their agreed-upon time, were refusing to continue to fight. Additionally they were being held as prisoners and deserters by the Federal Army. With a major battle confrontation pending, the entire group was delivered under guard to Colonel Chamberlain and his Maine regiment to be dealt with however the officer decided. On a hillside, Chamberlain gathers them together and speaks to them in such a way as to re-position in their thinking what was the nature of the cause for which they were at war. Here is what he said to them…
We’re moving out in a few minutes and we’ll be moving all day… I want to take you men with me. I’ve been told if you don’t come, I can shoot you. Well, you know I’m not going to do that – maybe somebody else will, but I won’t … so that’s that.
Here’s the situation. The whole Reb army is up that road waiting for us … so this is no time for an argument like this – I can tell you that!
We’re now well below half strength. Whether you fight or not, that’s up to you. Whether you come along or not… well… you’re coming.
You know who we are and what we’re doing here. But if you fight with us, there are a few things you should know.
This regiment was formed last summer in Maine. There were a thousand of us then; there are less than 300 of us now. All of us volunteered to fight for the Union, just as you did. Some came mainly because we were bored at home and thought this would be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many of us came because it was the right thing to do.
All of us have seen men die. This is a different kind of army. If you look back through history you will see men fighting for pay, loot, women, land, power … cause a king leads them, or just because they like killing.
But we are here for something new. This has not happened much in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free! America should be free ground – all of it – not divided by a line between slave states and free … all the way from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow to any man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not who your father was. Here you can be something. Here is the place to build a home. It’s not land – there’s always more land – it’s the idea that we all have value – you and me. What we’re fighting for, in the end … we’re fighting for each other.
Now that is a great speech! Chamberlain raised to a higher level of understanding the reason for which they fought. The purpose was a grand purpose… not just to win and get more gain… it was to set men free!
Why do we live? What is life about? It is so much more than merely existing, just living and dying. It is more than family and job and success. It could be said that it is about setting other men free – free of the bondage of sin. But even beyond that, it is all about knowing our creator God and being His partner in the grand story of the ages that He is writing.
When we grasp this concept, we have a renewed view of time and priorities. We look more at what around us is eternal. And what is that? God’s Word, and souls of men are all that is eternal… everything else burns in the end. And God’s story is about the fulfillment of His Word and will, and His plan to see the lost souls of millions redeemed out of slavery to sin and back to Himself. Don’t YOU feel a compulsion to be a part of that plan?
2COR 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
1COR 3:1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Don’t have a small mindset about life. Think big. Live above the mundane.