I don’t often quote other authors but this week, I felt inspired to share a poem by Edward Rowland Sill appropriately titled “Opportunity” from The Little Book of American Poets (1787-1900) by Jessie B. Rittenhouse of the Cambridge Riverside Press.
While not canonized, this text continues to be a driving force in my life and an important source of inspiration when there seemed to be little or no wind in my sails.
This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;And underneath the cloud, or in it, ragedA furious battle, and men yelled, and swordsShocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s bannerWavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.A craven hung along the battle’s edge,And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steelThat blue blade that the king’s son bears, but thisBlunt thing!” he snapped and flung it from his hand,And lowering crept away and left the field.Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bestead,And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,And ran and snatched it, and with battle shoutLifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,And saved a great cause that heroic day.
This poem can easily be applied to the Christian lifestyle. The cloud of dust is sin. The furious battle is happening all around us as the world morally deteriorates exponentially.
The prince is Jesus Christ crucified by His enemies who succumb to evil rather than believe in the Father, His son and the holy spirit. The prince’s banner is symbolic of Christ’ church which continues to be under attack today.
The craven represents all those who believe in Christ but lack faith in Him. More than self confidence, the craven’s broken blade is the word of God that flows from the mouth of sinners, too often ignored or ridiculed as preaching. What most people do not realize is that in the right hands, the word of God and faith have the power to defeat an entire army.
Just as the weak fail their life’s mission and discard the word of God, the craven crept away leaving the battlefield flinging his sword from his hand.
Then came the King’s son, the prince, the church. Through Christ, we are called to fetch broken swords and turn a losing battle around. We are destined for greatness. We all have a mission.
We are all called to save a great cause, to inspire someone to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Those among you who are already in a relationship with Christ must recognize and seize every opportunity you are given to use your sword and defeat the enemy. As for people who hang along the battlefield I have a few words of advice: Do not creep away! Pick-up your sword and put on the breastplate of salvation offered to you by Jesus Christ as He died on the cross.
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:16-18)
“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:11-13)
“Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” (Revelation 2:15-17)
Are you ready for the fight that is the Christian life? You really have only two choices. Fight and die for Christ which returns eternal rewards in heaven or, creep away, give-in to Satan and suffer the great penalty as you burn in hell forever.
How can we fight evil with a broken sword? The word tells us how in Revelation: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12:11)
Fighting evil begins with accepting Jesus as Lord and savior and acknowledging He died on the cross for our sins. This allows you to be washed with His blood. Then, defeat evil by sharing your testimony and spreading God’s word. Finally, be ready to die for Christ rather than live for Satan. Embrace all that is good and rid yourselves of all that is evil.
While easier said then done, the fight against evil must become a way of life. Always remember this ministry is here to help answer any question you have and pray with you as you continue to hold your sword high and ready yourself for the enemy.
We thank you for this day
And for the challenges you have brought in our lives,
We ask for your strength in difficult times
And pray you will be there each time we need you.
Lord we thank you for your all mighty power
Which continues to drive us,
And pray that you keep our sails full of spiritual wind
To pull us along and keep us Faithful.
God please forgive our sins
Forgive our hurtful decisions,
And lead us to live perfect lives
Just as you did while among us.
We thank you for providing all we need
To live through each day,
And ask that you continue to bless our lives
Like only you can.
We thank you for your love and all that surrounds us!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre