Lessons Learned From a Godly General
“Among the many lessons that can be learned from studying the life of General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, one of the most important is to, live each day boldly without fear, loving and serving the Lord our God in all things, and be prepared to leave this earth for our heavenly home at any time.” - Jim Riddle
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
1 John 2:28
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
1 Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
I love history and am especially enthralled with the lives of a few Christian Generals of the American Civil War. One general that has captured my interest and I might add, “my heart” is the well known, General “Stonewall” Jackson. The love He had for his country was overwhelming though he truly was distraught over the North’s impending invasion. Jackson affirmed his allegiance to the Army of the Shenandoah and vowed to fight for God and country to the bitter end. Duty did not prevent him from acknowledging and proclaiming his religious convictions and many members of his brigade were quickly indoctrinated with Jackson’s infectious faith.
Thomas Jonathan Jackson, raised by his Episcopalian relatives following the untimely deaths of both his father and mother, joined the Presbyterian Church in the early 1850s. Eager to share his renewed faith with all people, Jackson started a Sunday school in Lexington, Virginia for African-Americans teaching black children the ways of salvation. Although he could not alter the social status of slaves, he committed himself to Christian decency and pledged to “assist the souls of those held in bondage.” Eventually the Sunday school grew beyond the allotted facilities and ultimately blossomed into new churches for African-Americans. As a result, many ex- slaves became preachers themselves and were later responsible for some of the largest religious revivals that followed the South’s surrender.
In reading the life of “Stonewall” Jackson, I realized what great conviction he had in serving God with boldness and without the fear of man. Whenever possible, General Jackson held to a strict schedule of morning and evening Sunday worship, as well as Wednesday prayer meetings, which he would adhered to at all costs. One of the local Fredericksburg preachers routinely led the services, which were often attended by General Robert E. Lee and his staff. Jackson loved God and lived his life in preparation of Christ’s return at any time. He felt he was just as safe on the battlefield as he was sitting in his own parlor–––knowing God was in control of his life and of his death.
Thought: As I read through some excerpts of General Jackson’s life, I realized that he was an example of a man who lived his life in pursuit of virtue and godliness. The perfect picture of godly virtue and worthy of all honor is of course, the LORD JESUS CHRIST. I would not want in anyway to take away from Christ’s supreme majesty and give homage due our Lord to a mere man, but a life lived out in faithfulness to Christ, in the end, Christ will reward.
May we live boldly, without fear, loving God with all our hearts, and others as ourselves. Let us live our lives as if everyday were our last in preparation of our Lord’s return, never to be ashamed at His appearing. And when this life as we know it is over, may we cherish the words spoken by our Lord; “Well done, thou good and faithful servant:thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” Matthew 25:21. (Remember, rewards are based on faithfulness not results.)