The Clock is Ticking

They’re different. Military families, I mean

I live near Fort Jackson, one of the largest basic training facilities in the country. In addition to processing thousands of recruits a year, it’s also home to the chaplains school. 

For 28 years I’ve been lulled to sleep by the sound of machine gun fire in the distance. I’m so used to it that the only time I notice it is when a house guest turns to me with wide eyes and asks, “Was that GUNFIRE?”

What I’ve never gotten used to, though, are the military families who live, work, and worship in my community. 

Without exception, they are the most engaged and involved temporary residents I’ve ever met. They are initiators. They don’t wait to be asked; they jump right in. They are energetic go-getters who are quick to extend a hand in greeting, invite a new friend over for coffee, or volunteer to help. 

They realize their time here is limited, and that they may be transferred with very little notice. They don’t have time to sit around. There are too many opportunities they might miss if they are passive. There’s a lesson cloaked in the earth-toned camouflage these brave folks wear. 

As Christians, we’re here on temporary assignment, too. And we could be transferred with little or no notice. We are wise to be mindful of this as we move through our daily lives. It should affect what we do: 

We should always be ready to testify of our faith. First Peter 3:16 tells us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Opportunities to share a testimony, word of encouragement, or even the gospel don’t come along every day; we should be watching for them. If we don’t intentionally look for opportunities, we might miss a chance to share our faith. 

We should always be ready to extend hospitality, instead of waiting for someone else to take the first step. My military friends know if they sit around hoping someone will invite them out for coffee, a play date, or to church, they might be waiting a long time. Instead, they find a friendly face and extend an invitation. As a result, they often develop deep friendships that last a lifetime. Hebrews 13:2 encourages us, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” 

We should always live with no regrets. While this isn’t always possible, knowing our lives are “just a vapor,” helps keep our priorities straight. I think of this whenever I’m tempted to stubbornly hold on to a grudge or grievance. I ask, If I died today, would this matter? Most of the time the answer is no. 

We are here on this earth on temporary assignment. This is not our final home. What we do determines much of what happens in the world to come, not just for ourselves, but for those around us. 

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. . . And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth . . . they were longing for a better country-- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:14,16).

What are you waiting for? Time is short. Eternity is long, and there is much to do in between. The risks are low, but the payoff’s out of this world. Will you join me in the Kingdom work? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. When have you jumped in and done something for God? It could be a small gesture like inviting your waitress to visit your church or a big one like sharing the gospel with a coworker. Leave a comment below and join the conversation! If you're reading via email, CLICK HERE to comment.

If you liked this devotion, you might like "Why Funerals Aren't All Bad."



This devotion is an excerpt from Lori’s new book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women.

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  1. GailBP5:21 PM

    As a former military wife, I appreciate that we have that reputation, and I also appreciate your analogy with our Spiritual life. : )

  2. Kimberly Blaylock5:49 PM

    This is a wonderful and inspiring post.

  3. Abby Hickey6:18 PM

    Hi Lori, thanks for visiting me today (Little Birdie Blessings), so happy to have found you. As to your question here, I find the older I get, the easier it is to yield my life to the Lord's will. I have a heart for women's ministry, and the Lord is using me in my role as a Pastor's wife, and through my blog. We're promised in God's word, that it (the Bible) will not return void. I use every opportunity I can to promote scripture. I'm looking forward to spending some time here. I see you've interviewed Carol Kent & Ann Graham Lotz. I've heard both women speak and am very pleased to have been able to. Blessings to you. ~ Abby

  4. lorihatcher9:14 PM

    I agree, Abby. I think every time we say yes to God, it makes the next time a little easier, especially when we see how he uses our obedience to do his work in the world. And when we fail to obey, and suffer regret over it, we learn from that too, and don't want to repeat it. Thanks for sharing, Abby! May God richly bless your ministry.

  5. lorihatcher9:14 PM

    Press on, Kimberly!

  6. I love your analogy and yup, our military friends just jumped right in and were friendly and helpful and just a joy to know. And yes, they have friends all over the world!

    I remember jumping in and coordinating a big event at our church. I had no prior experience and no clue what I was doing but God blessed it anyway, lol!

    Thanks so much for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky party today! :)

  7. Michelle Brown9:37 AM

    Before I married my husband, I was shy and reserved. However, after nearly 14 years of military life, I have learned to come out of my shell quickly, or risk sitting in my home alone. It is always easier for me in a military town, such as Fort Jackson/Columbia. We loved our brief time there (only 6 months), but in that time, we made friends with our neighbors, explored the town, and found a church to briefly call home.

    And what a wonderful correlation to our spiritual walk and how we express our faith. And if I might add two others. As a military family, I know we all have a purpose. My husband has his obvious one, but our purpose is to make his job easier. When he is down-range, our job is to support him. And to keep his mind focused on his job, I make sure I am doing mine at home. As Christians, we all have a purpose. And whether we done the ACU's or not, we are all fighting the good fight.

    Additionally, my husband knows that he doesn't just represent himself, he represent the Army when he is in uniform. I am forever reminding our kids that their choices are important, because what we do and say represents Christ to those who do not know Him.

    Thanks for your wonderful post! (Found you on The Better Mom)

  8. HarringtonHarmonies9:10 AM

    I loved this! It made me feel all warm fuzzy, loved and recognized. As an Army family we don't have time to wait to plant our garden or join that book club. We have to do it before it's time to be on to something else. And I Love Love Love..the analogy to Christian life. Non of us have to wait for that either! What a great post!

  9. You are right! Military families are different! My closest friend is a military wife and what a blessing she was in my life during the 3 years she lived near me. Now it is long distance and I still keep up though it has been ten years.

    Thanks for sharing this over at WholeHearted Home.

  10. Pamela Kuhn8:10 AM

    I have some dear military friends. We have a woman in our church who has a Good News club for kids. Our church sends money to several ministries but seems to forget the one represented in our church family. (Like the Biblical "A prophet is without honor in his own country.) I jumped in and organized a hat drive for them, purchasing hats and stuffing them with goodies.