Once a year the
Boy Scouts of America have what’s called “Scout Sunday” and kicks off the week that we celebrate the birthday
of the Scouting program here in America. Scouting
is a great program for our youth and I still remember how I became involved. My
son, Jeff, started out as a Tiger Cub when he was in the first grade and my wife was actively involved in Cub Scouts but I
was not involved at all. One evening when I came home from work, Lisa explained that Jeff had finally crossed over to the Webelos program, which is for boys who
are in the fourth and fifth grades. Then she said that they needed a Webelos
leader and she said that I was it. What an introduction to Scouting that was. I’ve been heavily involved with the Scouts for many years since and I love every
minute of it.
The Boy Scouts have an oath and a law, or code of ethics if you will, that they have to memorize and repeat and say
that they will abide by. The oath goes like this’ “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally
straight.” That the Scout Oath.
Now the Scout Law that is mentioned in this oath that the Scout pledges to obey is this, “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind,
obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” These
two things, the oath and the law are what a Scout is to model his life after. In
the oath is his pledging on his honor do his duty to God and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people and to keep himself
strong in body, keep his mind active and to stay true to the morals that he has been taught.
And when a Scout comes to the Scoutmaster to have a Scoutmaster conference to see if he is ready to be promoted to
the next rank one of the things that the Scoutmaster asks is how that Scout has lived the Scout Oath and Law in his everyday
life – how does he apply it to himself. Now take a look at that Scout Law
for a moment. Does it kind of remind you of another law? The Scout law has 12 points to follow and the other has 10. Can
you think of 10 guidelines that were given for people to follow? Yep, the 10
Commandants. Now I am not saying that the Scout Law is equal to or even in the
same ballpark as the 10 Commandants but it’s a good guideline for Scouts to follow.
And what I would like to propose is that it’s also a good guide for everyone to follow. We can all take a lesson from the Scouts and the codes that they follow and apply to their lives. If we as Christians took the Scout Oath and Law seriously and applied them to our
everyday lives imagine what it would do.
There are several parts of the Scout Law that
I would like us to look at and the first one that I would like for us to see is the last one.
A Scout is reverent. Just
what does it mean? Basically it means that a Scout has reverence towards God and he is faithful to fulfill his religious
duties and he is respectful of the beliefs of others.
One of the things that we try to always do in
our Troop is that at all of our meetings open and close with prayer. We also
have prayer prior to leaving on camping trips and we have prayer before all of our meals.
When we are out camping, we are usually gone from Friday night to Sunday afternoon and before we break camp on Sunday
to return home, we have a short church service. A Scout can even earn awards
for religious training according to their faith. We try to enhance a boy’s
spiritual walk. But there are many who challenge the Scouts for their stance
on God but the Scouts continue to stand strong.
1 Peter 5:9 says this, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” Peter is telling his readers to resist Satan
and stand firm in the faith. Now Scouts have been doing this all along. The Boy Scouts of America have stood their ground, upholding the principals of faith
in the midst of secular attacks demanding that they change their oath and remove any references to God from it.
proud to be a part of an organization the stands strong and upholds what the majority of the Scouts and their families believe
in instead of folding under to what only a small minority tries to dictate. I’m
so glad that Jesus didn’t cave in under pressure when He was being tried before Pilate and the masses were screaming
for His crucifixion. I’m glad that He didn’t say, ‘Wait a minute, I didn’t realize that what I was doing was offending
some of you. Let’s see if we can tone things down a bit. There might be another way for you to pay you own penalty instead of me having to put my life on the line
for you.’ What if Jesus caved in under the pressure of the
dissenters? Where would that put us? I
don’t know about you but I don’t want to be in that position. I give
thanks that God loved us enough to send Jesus and that Jesus loved us enough that when He was in the garden praying just before
His arrest He prayed that not His will but that God’s will be done.
I have a question for you. Why is it we cave in under the pressure of the minority? Why
do I have to give up my beliefs for the voices of a few? I don’t! No one can take away or subjugate my faith and my beliefs – but I can give them
up myself. In order to stand firm in Jesus we must know what He wants for us. We need to study His Word and we need to be in prayer.
We need to listen to that small still voice. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
We need to listen to God; we need to know His Word. 2 Timothy 2:15 says,
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does
not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth.” Another
version say to ‘study’
to show yourself approved. In other words we have to know Scripture. Because without knowing the Word of God we cannot stand up for our beliefs because we have not grown in
them. We must study the Word of God and grow
strong in our faith. Then we can stand
firm in our faith. We must let no one subjugate our faith or try
to squelch it. Jesus says in Luke 21:19, “By
standing firm you will gain life.”
Boy Scouts have reverence for God. They are standing firm – are we? In Matthew 22:37 Jesus
says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.” We need to examine ourselves and see who
is at the center of our lives. If it us then we have some changes that need to
be made. God does not need to be at the center of our lives, God must be the center of our lives. There is a bumper sticker
that I’ve seen lots of times. It says, “God is my co-pilot”. I don’t know about you
but I’ve got a problem with that. I don’t think that I’m a
better pilot than God. Brad Stine, the Christian comic says it best. “If God is your
co-pilot – CHANGE SEATS!” Greyhound has a great slogan
that says, “Leave the driving to us.” Leave the driving to God. Let God be
in charge of every aspect of your life.
There is another point in the Scout Law that
I would like to bring to your attention and that’s the seventh point. A
Scout is obedient. Basically
what that means is that a Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and his country instead of disobeying them. If he thinks that these rules are unfair, he does his part to try to change them.
Now we as Christians also need to be obedient. But does being obedient to God mean that we have to disobey the laws of our community? No it doesn’t. Titus 3:1 says,
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient,
to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility towards
men.” But we are to also obey the word of God. In Luke 11:28, Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who
hear the Word of God and obey it.” It’s a fine line that
a Christian walks. We must obey God and also obey those who are in authority
brings me to this. In the last part of Matthew, Jesus gives us some instruction,
marching orders if you will. Matthew 28:19-20 states, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”. The question is – are we doing what we were told to do? Are
we following the instructions that Jesus is giving us? Are we being obedient?
the things that a Scout tries to do is to recruit other boys into the Scouting program.
That’s one of the things that the leaders try to get him to do and he in turn tries to obey by telling others
just how much fun Scouting is. One of the things that we as Christians are also
to be doing is recruiting non-Christians. We need to be evangelizing; telling
others about how much fun and how fulfilling it is to be in the family of God.
But why? “Why do I have to be the one to evangelize? I’m uncomfortable
talking to others about my faith. What if I stumble and make myself look stupid? Anyway, they can just come to church and learn about God like everyone else.” Are you being obedient when you think like this?
How can someone hear the Word of God unless it’s from someone like you?
10:14 and 15 says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed
in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them, and how can they preach unless they are sent?”
The unbelievers will never hear the Word of God unless you tell them.
Now I can hear you saying, “I have no clue of what to say to someone. I get tongue-tied and forget what I should be saying. If only
I had a memory jogger.” No problem, we will get to the memory
jogger in must a moment. Let me point out the ninth point of the Scout Law which
says a Scout is thrifty. What does it mean that a Scout is thrifty? Well a Scout helps pay his own way and helps others, he saves for the future and he conserves and protects
natural resources. But he also carefully uses his time and property. When many of us think of being thrifty we think of using our money wisely and looking for bargains and
saving as much as we can. We think of being penny-pinchers.
I want to find a penny. Do you have one? Now
I want you to hold on to that penny. Don’t mix it up with another one,
this one is special so don’t mix it up or put it away or hide it deep in your pocket.
This is a ‘Gospel Penny’. Now I know that you are thinking that I’m a bit loony but hear me out. This penny can help you in sharing your testimony with others.
Ok let’s take a close looks at this penny
and on the front we see several things. At the top there are some words. What does it say? That’s right,
“In God We Trust”
As a nation we place our trust in God. It’s written on all of our currency. It’s on the nickel, the dime, the quarter, the dollar and so on. Our nation was founded with the fundamental belief in God and in Him we as a nation and as individuals
should place our trust. Psalm 20:7 says, “Some
trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the Name of the Lord our God.” Too many times people forget that. Trust in God as you witness
to others and He will guide your thoughts and words.
Let’s look a little further down and there
is another word. What does it say? That’s
right, ‘Liberty’. Now this word should
jog our memory as to our being set free from sin and bondage when we accepted Christ as our Savior. Romans 6:17 and 18 says, “But thanks be to God that, though
you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin…” In Christ we have been set free from sin and death. And that brings us to the next item.
Whose picture is depicted on the front of the
penny? Abraham Lincoln. Now what to we equate the picture of Lincoln with? A backwoods,
self-educated lawyer who became president?
No we equate
him with freedom. We give him the credit for breaking up slavery here in America. He was
the president that gave freedom to the slaves. We give him the credit for changing
the face and direction of America. When we see this portrait of Lincoln
we should be reminded that it was Christ that truly set us all free from the bondage of sin.
Each and every one of us were slaves to sin. Jesus said in John 8:34,
“I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin”. But Christ broke the bondage of sin when He gave His life on the cross. 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is Spirit, and where
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”. When we think of
what Christ has done for us we should want to shout out to everyone we meet. Christ
will give you the strength to tell others about Him. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”.
Next we find that there is a date next to Lincoln. This is the date that the penny was made. But
it can remind us of two different dates. One is the day that we accepted Jesus
as our Lord and Savior. A day that changed our lives forever; it’s the
day that we made the same profession of faith that Peter did when Christ asked the disciples who they said He was. Peter exclaimed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living
That’s the same profession that we make when we accept Him as our Savior.
But the date on the penny also should remind us of another date. 1 Thessalonians
5:16, “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command,
with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words”.
We need to remember that Christ is returning and He’s coming back sooner than we realize so we need to keep ourselves
ready at all times. If we are not, Christ will come and go and we will be left
behind. We must bring the good news of the Gospel of Christ to those who do not
know Him. Jude 22 states, “Be
merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them…”
Then on most pennies there is a letter found
directly under the date. This is called a mintmark and it denotes what mint struck that penny. This mark should remind us of the where we were when we accepted Jesus as our Savior. How many can remember? Where were you when you accepted Christ
as your Lord and Savior?
It’s kinda far back
for me, I was eighteen when I made that commitment and it was at a Christian coffee house in Jacksonville Florida.
Now don’t ask me that actual date and my memory gets a bit fuzzier the older I get.
Now turn the penny over. What is written on the top of the backside? “The United States
of America. These words denote that
this coin is part of the currency of our country. The United States of America; there is no other country like it in the entire world. People from all over the world left their homes to come to this great land. No where else in the world do we have the freedom to worship as we want.
But this is also true – there is no where else in the world that needs to be evangelized so as much as America. Look
at the opposition to Christian values and the Christian message in our society. We
hear about abortion rights, gay rights, and the right to die and so on. The media
– television, movies, video games, radio, magazines, newspapers, etc. – are chocked full of moral-less values. Rarely do Christian values ever show in the media.
America needs God and if we don’t
evangelize, if we don’t tell out neighbors, our friends, our co-workers the hope of salvation that is ONLY found in
Jesus, who will? Do not waste the opportunity that God has given you.
are some strange looking words that seem to be in a foreign language. ‘E Pluribus Unum’ is Latin meaning ‘Out of Many, One’.
It originally referred to the first thirteen colonies of America
that united into one nation. But it can also remind us that Christians are people
from all walks of life. We are from different races, nationalities, socio-ecomomic
backgrounds, educations and so on. But no matter how different, how diverse we
are we are all one in Christ Jesus. “There
is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ”. We are all brothers and sisters in Jesus. We are many people
but we are one body in Christ Jesus.
Under this you see a strange looking building. It’s the Lincoln Memorial. This monument to President Lincoln
should also remind us of what is waiting for us in heaven. We have a place already
prepared especially for us. Jesus said in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you”. Do
you get that, we are going to be living with God in His house. You can’t
get any better than that. We have a reservation already made for us in that kingdom
palace. That’s so, so much better than any home we could ever have here. We need to get others on that reservation list.
The last part is probably the best part. It’s what everything else is based upon.
Without this last part we have nothing. We can see the words at the bottom,
That denotes exactly how
much this coin is worth. It takes 10 pennies, 10 cents to make a dime. It takes 25 pennies to make a quarter, it takes 50 pennies to make a half -dollar and it takes 100 pennies
to make one dollar. All of our currency has this lowly penny as it base. Now instead of reading it as One Cent, c-e-n-t,
think of it as One Sent, s-e-n-t. God
sent His Son to bridge that gap of sin that separates us from Him. John 3:16,
“For God so loved the world, that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. Jesus
came to set us free. He was sent from God the Father to redeem us.
Now the penny, which many of us consider insignificant
because of it’s low value, supports the entire currency of America. All of our money is infused with the penny. Jesus certainly doesn’t have a low value but many consider Him as unimportant
because they don’t know Him like we do. Jesus is our base, our support. Jesus is our foundation. Jesus has infused our lives with His. Through
Him we are made complete. We need to help other people who have no clue of what
Christ can do come to know Him as Lord and Savior.
Don’t throw all of your pennies in a jar or leave them on top of your dresser.
Keep one with you at all time because you never know when you will have the chance to talk to someone about what really
matters the most, Jesus Christ.
Scout must demonstrate how he lives the Scout Oath and Law in his everyday life but I think that we need to take it a bit
further. We as Christians need, we must, live Christ. He must live in our everyday lives
in all that we say and do.