By Dr. John G. “Jack” Nill
There is an interesting story told about Alexander the Great. During one of his campaigns, Alexander was leading his army to victory, conquering city after city. The army’s fierce reputation preceded it, and most cities simply surrendered rather than fight. But as Alexander approached one particular city, the king stood on the city wall and yelled out that he would not surrender; he was prepared to fight.
Alexander’s answer was to give a command to one column of his men: “Forward, march!” and he marched them directly toward a cliff several hundred feet deep. The first soldier in the column reached the edge of that cliff and never hesitated, never turned aside, but marched right off the edge and plunged to his death. The next soldier in the column reached the edge, never wavered, never looked to the right or left, but took another step and plunged to his death. The same with the third soldier. At that point, Alexander yelled, “Halt!” and the column stopped.
Alexander turned on his horse and looked at the king, who had watched this event unfold. The king thought for a moment and then turned to the people inside the city walls and yelled, “Throw open the gate!” and turning to face Alexander, he said, “We surrender!”
What changed that king’s mind? He knew he could never defeat an army characterized by that kind of dedication – that kind of total commitment. Those soldiers had marched off a cliff just because their captain said to. They weren’t even fighting yet – – what would they be like in a real battle? You can’t beat an army with that amount of devotion and loyalty to their leader.
Jesus calls us to that same kind of dedication – that same kind of loyalty and commitment. Not to an earthly king with material ambitions, but to Himself, the King of the universe and the Lord of eternity. You see this call whenever He challenges people to go beyond the ordinary. It is evident in Luke 16: 25-35, when he challenges a large crowd with the sacrifices needed to become an authentic disciple. You see it in Matthew 5-7, the “Sermon on the Mount,” where he challenges a crowd with the meaning of being a true follower. You see it in His teaching on the bread of life in John 6:25-71, when many desert Him because of the challenge of those words.
Passages like this demand my best for His cause. I cannot be satisfied with the status quo. My captain is directing His army, and I am absolutely committed to Him. What He says, I’ll do, because I know everything He does has eternal value. I’ve read the end of the Book, and I know who wins! Knowing that, I can face any battle today!
Dr. John G. “Jack” Nill serves as the Provost for Global University. To learn more about Global University, visit www.globaluniversity.edu.