I recently watched the autobiographical film of Audie Murphy. It corresponded perfectly with Veteran’s Day, but I didn’t do that on purpose. After watching the movie, I wanted to know more about the most decorated soldier of WWII, so I looked him up online. The photos of Audie Murphy show a clean cut, handsome man. He was only 5’5″. His father abandoned the family when Audie was very young. Audie took it upon himself to help his mother by feeding the family, which consisted of eleven other siblings! If he didn’t hunt rabbits and deer to feed the family, then the family would have gone hungry. One of his sister’s is quoted as saying “He was my hero long before he ever did anything [in the war].” I should say so.
When his mother died suddenly, his younger siblings were turned over to foster care. He decided to join the military. He was turned down by both the Navy and Marines because he was too small and too young. Finally, he found a military home in the U.S. Army.
After getting inoculated for the first time in Basic Training, he was in the infirmary due to adverse reactions – he’d never had a shot before. When sailing across the Atlantic to his assignment in North Africa, he was in the sick bay – he’d never been on the ocean before. His superiors wanted to assign him to kitchen duty. His comrades all wanted to look out for him. Little did they know the big and brave heart that beat within his small frame! Audie Murphy killed 242 of the enemy himself during WWII. In one conflict, he ordered his men back, and proceeded to mount a burning tank. He used the gun on that tank to shoot down a host of German soldiers as they tried to overtake the wood that he was assigned to hold. The Germans kept edging closer, trying to see where this shooter was so they could take him down. They never thought of looking on top of a burning tank! What kind of man would stay on a burning tank? Only a hero. Only Audie Murphy. He successfully dismounted the tank shortly before it exploded. Unable to see him, the Germans retreated, Murphy and his men held the wood, and Murphy was awarded the highest honor of the land – the Congressional Medal of Honor – for his bravery “above and beyond the call of duty”.
Audie Murphy was small. He was also young, he was only 17 when he entered the Army. He was nineteen when he got out. He was a nobody who said “Here am I, America. I’ll serve. I’ll fight.” I only wish he were still alive so I could thank him.
All of this does have a spiritual application. You may, as I do, feel as though you have nothing to offer the Lord. You may have even been told that! But looks can be deceiving. The Bible says in I Cor. 1:26-27 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; God likes to use the “Audie Murphys” of the world. Remember David? He was just a Shepherd boy who loved the Lord with all his heart. God used him to be the most famous King in Israel. What about Mary, Jesus’s mother? She was just a young teenage girl who vowed to keep herself pure. God used that purity in a great way, to bring forth God’s own precious Son. I also think of the small lad with five loaves and two fish. What a tiny offering in man’s opinion, but not to Jesus! He likes underdogs. In fact, I think He prefers them!
Those of us who don’t look like much on the outside, might just be exactly the kind of person on the inside that God would like to use. He can take a willing vessel- regardless of shape, size or IQ- and defeat the enemy. Maybe not on top of a burning tank, but down on our knees at the altar, at a friend’s sick bed, or at the home of some children who have no other hope- but Jesus. You probably won’t get the Congressional Medal of Honor down here, but there is a greater reward awaiting you, rest assured.
Not many mighty and not many noble are called to serve the Lord? Oh good. That means I qualify.