• Today's Daily Devotion
Vietnam Isn’t So Bad
CHAPLAIN John McElroy was with the 26th Marines at Khe Sanh, sharing the fear and misery of life with the Marines at the besieged combat base. He lived in a bunker made from ...

Vietnam Isn’t So Bad

On his way to the combat base in July 1967, McElroy had stopped in Da Nang to visit a senior chaplain headquartered at the large base. He found that his superior had air conditioning, maid service, and a swimming pool. After talking for a while, the senior chaplain stood up and announced: “Please excuse me, I have a tennis game to go to. You know Vietnam isn’t so bad once you get used to it!” These words would echo in McElroy’s mind during many weeks of hard duty in a dangerous place.

It would be easy and probably justified to condemn this senior chaplain’s insensitivity and apparent arrogance. However, this story also causes us to take a look at ourselves. On the next cold, rainy, winter night, try to remember the homeless man you saw that day walking along the road with a bundle under his arm. Where is he sleeping? Can you conceive of telling him that life in the woods isn’t so bad “once you get used to it?” I hope I wouldn’t, but is that what I would actually be thinking? Am I like the senior chaplain in the rear area with all the comforts of home, unable to conceive of the hardships on the front line? I sadly realize I probably am.

I also realize Jesus never tried to lead from a comfortable place. He was constantly in the front lines with the people he cared about, experiencing their lives with them. He gives us a hard example to follow—a standard of loving and selfless service that requires the best within us.

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