Sunday, October 22, 2006


J. D. Wetterling was a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot in Viet Nam; he grew up on a farm in southwestern Illinois. He went to Viet Nam with three other pilots; J.D. was the only one to come home alive; the other three are on “The Wall” and their bones have become soil in mountains and hills of Viet Nam and Laos. J. D. wrote a book about Viet Nam entitled Son of Thunder, the story of his experiences, and those of his three buddies, as fighter pilots in Viet Nam. I heard it is a great book written by this Christian man.

I drove home last Friday night and J. D. Wetterling was on my mind. What kind of war book is it? Blood and glory, young stud bravado or is it the truth that war hurts and leaves many scars that will always be scars to remind us of our experiences.

It seems only fighter jocks, special forces, generals and colonels write books about wars Buck sergeants, electronics technicians and Air Force mechanics don’t write books and nobody could care less if they did. You see, we are the world behind the scenes, the out of the way ones, quiet and no one noticed what we did except the pilots.

Col. Robin Olds, a Viet Nam fighter pilot says for every pilot who flies, it takes a North Dakota farm boy to be his crew chief to keep the plane flying. I saw them work day and night; they slept on the tarmac using their toolbox for pillows when they were AWAP (AWAP means awaiting parts.) No one saw them cry when their pilot did not come back. It haunts every crew chief and his mechanics; “Did the bird not perform right, was that the reason he didn’t come home?” Those things linger. Scars, I guess. No one has written a book about this and no one ever will.

After so many years, why would I bring this up? I guess in any great endeavor many people contribute mightily and it seems no one notices or cares.

When I began my preaching, I preached at a campground in Cokato. I opened the sermon by giving a test of sorts to the campers. My question was “Who does the work for God?” It was a multiple choice test. The choices were: 1) a woman wiping the nose of a baby, 2) a man cleaning an apartment for a young family, 3) a missionary sharing Christ, 4) a woman cooking supper. I asked the question, not expecting an answer, but one came from a man named Jerry. He was tall and thin, always came late, wore a slouch hat and usually had the smell of alcohol on his breath. He raised his hand and yelled out, “They all are doing the work of God.” Yes, he is right. The sovereign God of the universe uses all people to work for “good of those who love the Lord.” They all are doing the work of God. I Corinthians 10:31 says: "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Are you one who has given every ounce of devotion in family, business or wherever and no one ever seems to notice? Be encouraged, God notices and He cares about it. Our job is to be obedient to God, aim to please Him in all that we do, and He will bless us in all our unrecognized work. May God get the glory for He alone deserves it!

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