In our lives, it is really easy to get so focused on secondary things that we miss main thing. So what we need to do is back off and ask ourselves what the main thing is and then see if we are keeping the main thing the main thing. This became abundantly clear to me when I was in the Army.
When I was in the 101st Airborne Division—the world’s most powerful division—our unit was chosen to be the first unit in the history of Ft. Campbell to use live hand grenades in trench clearing training, and I was selected to throw this grenade. Now usually when you get to use live hand grenades in training you get behind a huge wall that an atomic bomb would have a hard time penetrating and throw the grenade over it, duck down and wait until it blows up and go on. This time however there would be no such wall.
Our job was to crawl up to the trench line while another squad provided suppressing fire. When we got to the trench line, we would lie on our backs while I prepped the grenade and threw it in the trench. Now if you’ve never seen a real live grenade they have all sorts of safety features on them. The basic parts of a grenade are the body, the fuse and the spoon. The spoon is that thing that comes down and keeps the firing pin from engaging the fuse. To release the spoon you have to remove a safety pin and a pull ring. To throw a grenade with either one of those still on there is a pretty serious mistake.
To clear a trench another squad would shoot at the bad guys to keep their heads down while we crawled up to the opening of the trench. Those entering the trench would lie on their backs. While on my back, I would prep the grenade by removing the safety pin, and pulling the ring. I would then roll on to my side throw the grenade into the trench hollar “FRAG OUT!” roll on my back, wait for the grenade to go off. Once the grenade went off I would roll into the trench shoot anything that was still alive and run to the nearest corner on my side. While I did this, the guy behind me would roll in and while facing the opposite direction would do the same thing I did. This secured a section of the trench so that others could come in.
Now what do you think the most important part of entering the trench is? It is waiting until the grenade goes off before you jump in. If you don’t get this part right, you are going to have a pretty bad day. I know that in the movies grenades have an almost instantaneous fuse, this however is not correct. The fuse is 3-6 seconds and usually on the long end of that.
So on this day’s training our company had been using live grenades and was pretty excited about it. When one squad would come off the line, we would ask them about how they did. There were two squads who had gone before us and both of them had made mistakes. In one squad, the grenade man forgot to flip the safety pin off before he threw the grenade in and someone had to be called in to blow the grenade up safely. A second squad was so excited about throwing a live grenade that when they went in they didn’t shoot any bad guys. We were determined not to make those mistakes
Finally, it’s our turn. While our buddies are laying down suppressing fire, we skillfully crawl up to the line, we get on our backs, I very carefully prep the grenade and made sure the safety pin was off, and threw it in. I wait what seems like forever, give a loud and thunderous war cry and start to roll in. As I started to roll, I feel my squad leader grab me and pull me back. I roll over to look at him and ask what in the world he is doing when suddenly I hear, KAWHOOM as the grenade goes off. In all my care to make sure the safety pin was off, in all my excitement about throwing a live grenade, in all my careful thought to remember to shoot when I went into the trench, I forgot to keep the main thing the main thing. I forgot to wait until the grenade went off before jumping into the trench. Had SSgt. Solomon not grabbed me when he did I would have been in the trench as that grenade went off.
In all the business of our lives today it is easy to get so focused on secondary issues that we forget to keep the main thing the main thing. So what is the main thing?
“Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’ Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” Mark 12:28-31 (NKJV)
The main thing is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. When we keep the main thing the main thing, everything else in our spiritual lives will fall into place. Most of the blog posts this week will show us what it looks like to keep the main thing the main thing.