Our Ultimate Source - The Warrior's Journey®

Our Ultimate Source

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“But when the vine growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir.  Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’”  (Matthew 21:38) 

As improbable as this story sounds, it accurately describes Christ’s conflict with the religious leaders of His day. As the Messiah or “Anointed One,’ Jesus was the true seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16-19) and heir of all that was promised Israel (Hebrews 1:2). As the Good Shepherd of God’s people and the true Son of David, He was the rightful Lord and Master of Israel (Ezekiel 34:11-24; John 10:1-18).   

But the Pharisees, who had for so long enjoyed the loyalty and respect of God’s people, had forgotten that they were mere servants of God. They were under-shepherds of the Great Shepherd of Israel. They were tenet farmers who now viewed the vineyard as their own.  Their “service to the people” had become for them a source of honor and income – and they did not want to relinquish it. Therefore, Jesus was a threat to them.  Ultimately, they killed the Son in order to hold on to what rightfully belonged to Him. 

By doing so these religious leaders rejected God’s purpose for themselves – that of being stewards of Christ’s possessions – and sealed their own doom. “The Kingdom,” Jesus said, would be taken from them and given to others who would produce fruit with it (i.e. live righteously and lead people to faith in Christ). 

All leaders in the military face a similar temptation as that of the Pharisees – that of claiming possession of what is not ours. Though we bear tremendous responsibility and will answer for everything our organization does or fails to do, that organization is not “our kingdom.” Its purpose is not to meet some psychological need in us or to make us feel better about ourselves. The organization over which we have charge exists to accomplish the military’s mission. Its members are to be cared for and skillfully led to achieve our assigned tasks. 

Fortunately, the military frequently moves its members. It brings our command or assignment to an end and assigns us to another base and another job. Some leaders welcome this change. Others do not.  Ultimately, the military will tell us it’s time to leave its ranks forever. Yes, the same military that has been our livelihood and source of identity will be stripped away. How will we react? 



  • Is there a source of identity, worth, and purpose that can never be taken away?   
  • Isn’t that ultimate source God – who created us, designed us, and chose our gender, color, size, shape, and the many components of our personality?  Isn’t our worth based on His love for us and His willingness to do anything to save us? 
  • Let’s draw near to God through Jesus Christ and make Him the center of our lives.  Nothing can separate us from His love or take Him from us. 

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