by Ken Gardner

In 1917 a young man named Martin Treptow enlisted in the army. He was a barber working in a small town in Iowa, but America was at war, and he knew his country needed him. So he enlisted and served in the famous “Rainbow Division” fighting in France. During one of the most important and fiercest battles of the war, Chateau Thierry, Treptow was called on to carry a message to another battalion. He raced across the battlefield and almost reached his goal when a German machine gun dropped him. On his body was found his diary, and there he had written what he called “My Pledge”

“America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.

In his inaugural address in January, 1981, President Reagan read Treptow’s pledge and then said:

“The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves and believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together and with God’s help we can and will resolve the problems which confront us.”

You and I have certain responsibilities as well: to ourselves, to our families, to our country, to our congregation, and, most importantly, to our God. Jesus says that we must “strive” to enter the strait gate or narrow door (Luke 13:24). We must “make every effort” (NIV), “work hard” (TLB), and “try hard” to enter. May we heed our Lord’s words and realize both the importance and magnitude of our responsibilities, and do our best—our utmost—to fulfill them.