Archive for July 21st, 2006


I remember a particular incident that happened to my husband Mike when he  was in basic training with the United States Air Force.  Mike shared a third floor dorm room with many other young airmen, and one day, the drill sergeant informed them all that he was giving them an exercise to do.  They were given 5 minutes to get out of bed, get dressed in their uniforms, make their beds made and stand at attention. 

When the sergeant gave the signal, all the guys jumped out of bed and began their different phases of putting on their uniforms, shoes and socks, as well as making their beds and hurrying to stand at attention before the stopwatch went off.  Many of the airmen made it in that first drill, but there were still some stragglers who did not make it.  Those who did finish in time expected the drill sergeant to chew out those who didn’t make it.  However, he looked at them all with disdain and said that they all had failed.  This made those who had finished in time feel angry.

The drill sergeant then told everyone that he wanted them all to get undressed and climb back into bed.  They were going to try it again.  This time, they only had 4 minutes to complete the drill…20% less time than before!! There were more people who finished this time, but still, not everyone made it.  After the drill sergeant blew the whistle, he began to walk up and down the aisles of the dorm room.  And with anger and a fire in his eyes, he said these words, “Those of you who completed this drill let your buddies die by not helping them in the foxhole.  By not helping them get to safety, you failed your fellow man.” 

Suddenly the light bulbs started to go on, and the men began to understand what he had been trying to tell them.  The drill sergeant again instructed everyone to get undressed and return back into bed.  “This time, “ he said, “You have 3 minutes to make it.”   There was a flurry of activity now in the dorm as men started not only getting themselves ready, but also helping their buddies to prepare.  And although they didn’t quite all make it, the drill sergeant said that they were on the right path to learning what it’s all about.

Again he had them get back in the beds, and now they had 2 minutes to get dressed, make their beds and stand at attention.  Blankets were flying everywhere!  It was a whirlwind of organized chaos; because none of them were focused on their individual selves anymore.  Instead, they were working as a team and thinking as if they were all one unit.  You could see four guys working on one airman trying to help him get ready.  One guy was helping button his shirt and straighten his belt; Two more guys were tying his shoes, and another guy was making his bed.  My husband Mike even began helping and directing people.  There was a spirit of cooperation, and nobody copped an attitude.  When everyone was finished, the instructor announced that they had all made it in 81 SECONDS!!!!!  The entire group let out a roar!  They were no longer individual men.  They were now one unit….a team.  They had looked out for each other and had learned a valuable lesson….YOU CAN’T SUCCEED WHILE YOUR BUDDY’S FAILING. In essence, what that instructor was saying is that everybody makes it or nobody makes it.

Several years ago, Pastor Ron Mullings preached a message at our Bay Area Preaching Conference that stirred my soul.  The main statement or question that he addressed was, “What if my making it to Heaven is determined by your making it to Heaven?”  How different would we treat our brothers and sisters and fellow mankind?  Would we reach out more to those who are struggling or perhaps have fallen by the wayside?  Or would we just be concerned with our making it?   Would we rather be a lone competitor obsessed with making it to Heaven alone, or would we rather be an encourager whose goal is to build up our brothers and sisters and help them to make it?  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:  but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Jesus didn’t move through life as a isolated character.  As He approached the cross, he emptied out His heart in prayer for His disciples saying:  “Holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me….While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your Name (John 17:11-2)  That’s real teamwork!  God help me to be like that!

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