For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. Romans 1:21-22
Most of us don't know, and none of us have ever met, Henry Johnson.
You see, Johnson was a sergeant in World War I. He died in a Veteran's Hospital at the relatively young age of 32. Yes, Johnson died at a young age, but that doesn't mean he never accomplished anything of importance. I say that because history records how, on May 15, 1918, Johnson and another sentry were overrun and seriously wounded by 20 German soldiers.
At a time when most people would have surrendered, Johnson had not yet begun to fight.
Using a knife and wielding his jammed rifle like a club, Johnson managed to save himself and his comrade. It was a singular act of heroism. It was also an act which, for the most part, went unnoticed, unapplauded and unappreciated.
Now, almost 100 years after what historians have called the "Battle of Henry Johnson," there is a movement to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to the long-dead sergeant.
Although there is a law which says such a medal must be given within five years of the action, in this particular instance, that rule may be set aside. That's because many people in Congress believe, when it comes to giving thanks, the rule ought to be "better late than never."
Most of us would agree with that position. Most of us would agree because ingratitude to someone who has helped you is never a good thing.
All of this leads this devotion to ask if our country is going to be grateful to a deceased sergeant almost 100 years after he did a brave thing, what should our nation's attitude be toward the Lord who continuously is showering her with blessings?
St. Paul thinks the answer ought to be obvious. In Ephesians 5:20, he encourages believers to give "thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Most certainly all our Daily Devotioners ought to be showing their ongoing appreciation to the Lord who -- through the Savior's sacrifice -- has saved us, forgiven us, and continues to watch over us.
And it ought to also be our prayer that we refrain from following the wise fools of this world.
Yes, we need to be separate from those who ignore the Savior and all the blessings which a long-suffering Lord continues to bestow. May we never be found among the ranks of those who, with darkened minds, refuse to honor the Lord or give thanks to Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may my life be an ongoing song of praise for all the blessings You have given. Send Your Holy Spirit upon ungrateful hearts, so they may be changed and see You are responsible for every good and perfect gift. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries