Veterans Day is only a few days away, and we at Faith Driven Consumer want to make sure we highlight its importance. As Americans, we owe a great debt to those servicemen and servicewomen who have served our country faithfully and have been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to maintain our freedom and defend our values. Without their service, we would not have the prosperity we’ve enjoyed in this country for so long. However, honoring Veterans is not just something we should do as Americans, but it is also something that we as Christians are compelled to do because of our love for Christ and a desire to fulfil His mission in all the world. Service, sacrifice and suffering are not just nationalistic concepts, but we should understand and appreciate them as biblical and spiritual ones as well. And we should be motivated by the power of the Gospel and the love of Jesus to serve and sacrifice for this often-neglected community, and care for those who are suffering.
With this motivation, the FDC Team has come up with five ways to give back to our nation’s military veterans:
Get to know veterans in your community. Did you know that there are over 19 million military veterans in the United States? That means that wherever you live and whatever community you inhabit, there are certainly military vets near you. But unfortunately, many vets don’t have strong communities around them. Due to the high rates of PTSD among these former servicemen and servicewomen, and because of the difficulty transitioning from military life to civilian life, one of the worst problems in the veteran community is isolation. And while some of this stems from difficult psychological burdens that can’t be undone overnight, reaching out and maintaining a relationship can be invaluable in the lives of many vets who are experiencing isolation and the loss of a community and identity like the ones they had during their service. Taking the time to consider the veterans in your community and making a point to consistently reach out and spend time with them is one of the most effective and practical ways to serve this community.
Learn more about their service and their struggles. Another way in which you can give back is by equipping yourself to become more informed and better prepared to engage with veterans. Did you know that twenty-two veterans commit suicide in the U.S. every day? It’s a staggering statistic. For most of us, this is new and game-changing information. If this is true (and it is), then we as Christians should see this for the crisis that it is and become zealous for bringing the love of Jesus and the power of the Gospel to this heartbreaking issue in our nation. Learning more about what these men and women went through during service, and what struggles they commonly experience in transitioning back to civilian life can better equip us to serve, support and care for this neglected and struggling community.
Demonstrate your gratitude for their service. This one is as easy as it is obvious. Thank a veteran for his/her service. When is the last time you have thanked the veterans in your family or your community? When you pass by a vet wearing his black and gold “Vietnam Veteran” hat, are you intentional about thanking them for their service? It’s one of easiest ways to remind veterans that who they are what they did is appreciated and not forgotten. It means a lot to any of us, but especially to members of this specific community, to be given gratitude and honor for what they did and who they are. Let’s not neglect to simply say thank you more often.
Donate to veterans charities/ministries or meet practical needs. Whereas the last one was pretty easy, this one is a bit harder because it hits us where it hurts: our wallet. But as Faith Driven Consumers, we have committed to placing our finances under the lordship of Christ and not our own. So, one practical way to demonstrate this commitment is to our nation’s veterans who often struggle financially. Unfortunately, many of our nation’s veterans don’t receive sufficient financial support from our government. And, many have suffered physical injuries and developed psychological illnesses that prevent them from the same kind of employment opportunities the average civilian enjoys. All these factors contribute to a real and immediate financial need in the veteran community. As Faith Driven Consumers, we should be ready and willing to support these vets financially. This could be as simple as buying coffee or a meal for a vet, or as significant as helping out with rent or a mortgage payment. Or, you could simply donate to one of the many ministries or charities that are doing life-saving work in the veteran community. However you decide to give, and however much you give, you should consider financially supporting our veterans in this country.
Get involved with a veteran’s ministry. What if you don’t have much money to give but still want to be involved in caring for and supporting our vets? You should get involved with any of a number of ministries serving our veterans. There are many great ministries for veterans that you can involve yourself with, either locally or from afar. You only to seek them out. Chances are, there is a ministry near you where you can volunteer and find ways to get involved and make a difference. One such ministry that FDC has highlighted in the past is Fairways for Warriors. If you would like to learn more about this amazing ministry that uses golf to bring vets together and establish life-giving communities, then check out episode 9 – Faith and Veterans – on FDC’s Christians You Should Know podcast.
However you choose to honor and serve our vets this Veterans Day and beyond, we simply request that you do something. Our nation owes these brave men and women an enormous debt. And while a cup of coffee, a thank you, or a donation to a charity isn’t going to come close to repaying that debt, it can go a long way in demonstrating your gratitude for their service, while also opening up doors for sharing the love of Christ and the power of the Gospel. Let’s keep this important mission on our minds as we seek to honor, serve, support and care for our veterans this Veterans Day.