In the lead up to the Revolutionary War, the British Parliament fiercely debated the American rebellion and the course of action they should take. Despite some opposition, Parliament overwhelmingly supported King George III’s desire to engage the colonies with deadly force. The war seemed like it would be quick and decisive for the monarchy, squashing the Sons of Liberty’s talk of freedom, and teaching them to think twice before defying the crown again.
John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich (and yes, the inventor of the meat between two slices of bread), famously said of the impending war: “Suppose the colonies do abound in men, what does that signify? They are raw, undisciplined, cowardly men.” Echoing those sentiments, General James Grant made the bold claim that with only 5,000 redcoats he could march from one end of the American continent to the other. It has been said that Grant did more to bolster American patriotism than any of the American generals.
The colonial army, under the leadership of the Commander in Chief George Washington, was anything but cowardly; and the claim that only 5,000 soldiers could march across America? 24,000 British soldiers died in their humiliating defeat. How were an untrained, “rabble in arms” able to beat the world’s superpower? Many answers have been offered, but it cannot be ignored that the American pride was stirred into action after the derogatory comments made their way across the Atlantic. We might say the British unwittingly stirred a sleeping giant.
The church in America may well be called a sleeping giant. Jesus promised that the gates of hell could not prevail against the church, but many churches seem to be in a state of hibernation. We need to be stirred into action, not from wounded pride, but from understanding our duty. We are soldiers engaged in spiritual warfare, but for many Christians, we go about our busy day giving little thought to the spiritual needs of those around us.
Let this serve as our wake up call. Satan, the accuser of the saints, has called us every name in the book, hoping to convince God that we are worthless. But God has called us loved and forgiven, so we should spring into action and be the church we are called to be.
“For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”