Unsuccessful in England and a newcomer to America, Thomas Paine penned a fifty-page pamphlet shortly after the 1775 Battle of Lexington and Concord. His words inspired hope and rallied patriotism like no other author of his day.
Here are some of his more famous, oft quoted lines from Common Sense:
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Before that time, no one had ever heard of a summer soldier or a sunshine patriot. Exactly who was Paine talking about and why was his battle cry so effective? Let me digress for a minute and, hopefully, we’ll see ourselves through his eyes.
Motivation to exercise during glorious days of spring and summer comes easy. Warmer weather aids our desire to get outdoors, to become more fit. We might even perform acts of service – volunteer at Vacation Bible School (VBS) or feed the homeless in the park. Then come the cooler autumn days. Who can resist when crisp air and flaming leaves beckon hikes or long walks?
Ah, but winter breezes usher frosty weather. Our skin chafes, the temperature plummets, and roads and trails become icy. Comfort food, holiday parties, warm fires, and Hallmark movies turn us into couch potatoes.
We’ve left the sunshine, our summer soldiering, for the familiar, the comfortable. Oh sure, we’ll donate to rescue missions and cheer on the occasional spandex-clad runner or biker as if we’re one of those warriors too. After all, we’ll get back into it when more conducive weather returns. No cold noses, frozen feet, or windswept hair for us.
The author of Hebrews might have met a few summer soldiers and sunshine patriots too. These new Christians excitedly proclaimed their faith. But, like us, with the first hint of a storm on the horizon, they needed a reminder to hold fast. That’s why the author says don’t lose what you’ve worked so hard to gain during summer. Keep up the good work. And while you’re at it, encourage someone else to serve and love more too.
In this season, a virus has threatened our comfort, there’s chaos in our streets, and our Republic seems destined to fail. Yet Jesus’ words offer year-round motivation:
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb.10:23-25, NIV)
By Amre Cortadino
To leave a comment, please click on the title above THE SUMMER SOLDIER AND THE SUNSHINE PATRIOT and scroll down. Thank you! 🙂