When I was an Army chaplain, I served for several years at the Army’s jump (parachuting) school, located at Ft. Benning, GA. In my capacity as chaplain, I often jumped with the students who were going through the training.
It was an exciting job, but one of its bad sides was what happened when each jump was over. In the summer, Georgia is really hot. All the equipment for a jump is heavy. We jumped onto this really large field. When you got to the ground, you had to gather your equipment and walk off the field carrying all of it. Your destination was a set of metal bleachers where you would sit and wait for a bus–and for all the other jumpers to jump and make their way to those bleachers. Hundreds of people had to jump, so the wait could be a long one. You were tired and hot. When the time finally came, you crowded into an Army bus with a bunch of sweaty, dusty soldiers. Open windows provided the only breeze, but they also allowed the Georgia dust to come in.
As a chaplain, I was often the first to jump from the plane. I was more experienced than the other jumpers, and they looked at me as a good luck charm. On one jump, I was seated in the first seat, which meant I would be the first jumper. I was told, however, that someone else would be jumping first and that I needed to move one seat down. I looked up and saw that other person walking up the ramp of the plane. It was the commanding general. He sat down next to me.
It took some time for the plane to take off and reach the drop zone. The general and I had a chance to talk for approximately an hour. He liked the fact that an old chaplain was jumping with the young soldiers. He had several questions about what I did, how often I jumped, and even about my personal life. He joked with me, saying that I was his good luck charm, and he knew he was going to have a good jump because he was sitting next to a preacher.
I exited the plane immediately after he did, landing approximately fifty yards away. As usual, I gathered my parachute and reserve, dreading having to lug it to the bleachers I saw in the distance. Suddenly, I heard a voice say, “Chaplain, ride with me!” I looked and saw the general motioning to me with his hand. His personal military car, the closest thing the military has to a limousine, was pulling up to where he was.
I climbed into the spacious back. The general’s assistant picked up my equipment and put it in the trunk. The limo was air-conditioned and had cold drinks for the general and me. Stretched out in the back of his car, I was able to spend more time with the general as we drove back to Ft. Benning. As we passed the bleachers and saw a large number of soldiers waiting for a bus, I thought how great it was to be the general’s new best friend.
Everybody on that field that day was a soldier. But I was rewarded in a special way because I had spent time with the man in charge. He was the most powerful man on that field, and he liked what I was doing.
The NT speaks a great deal about rewards in the kingdom of God. All believers will be in the kingdom, but Christ will reward those who please Him in special ways. They will get to spend time with Him and be closer to Him.
In Rev 3:4, He tells believers at the church in the city of Sardis that if they are faithful to Him, they will have the privilege of walking with Him. I’m not sure exactly what that will look like, but maybe it will be like my experience with the general that day in Georgia. It sure was nice to hear him say, “Come ride with me.” He was an interesting and accomplished man, and it was great spending a few hours with him. I definitely benefited from that time, in more ways than one.
Think about it. How great will be it in the kingdom if the King says to us, “Come, walk with Me?” I have no doubt that it will be even better than riding in a military limo on a hot Georgia day.