1 Samuel 17 is a familiar passage to many of us. It is the story of David and Goliath. There is an interesting item of interest buried in that story that affects us today. As David approaches the Israelite army, he finds them "in battle array shouting the war cry". These soldiers are marching around, chanting about what they are going to do those nasty Philistines. Of course, a solitary Philistine named Goliath steps up on the hill and yells, "Rawwwrrrr" and the entire Israelite army turns tail and runs. These guys could act pretty tough as long as they stayed in the camp, but as soon as adversity sprung up, they high-tailed it out of there.
As Southern Baptists, we have certainly had our share of denominational "war cries". Does anyone remember "Bold Mission Thrust"? How about "Here's Hope Now"? My favorite… "A Million More in '54". Previous generations responded well to these kinds of motivations. The Million More in 54 campaign coincided with one of the greatest salvation harvests in our denomination's history.
But for a mantra to be effective, it must be connected to a movement of some form. Movements often start small, usually with just one person or a small group of persons and then generate momentum that turns them into tsunamis. Our world is full of movements today, look at the impact of the environmental movement on our society, for example. Christianity is full of these kinds of movements. How about Augustine leading the early church in a movement against Pelagianism. Martin Luther and the Reformers started a movement 500 years ago that is still rocking our world today. The First and Second Great Awakenings were other movements that God has swept over the face of the earth to make His name known to all people groups.
A mantra certainly has its place. We all need a way to express our beliefs in a compelling way. But outside of a movement, a mantra has no power, they are just hollow words. Remove the experience of Selma from his life and "I have a Dream" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. loses a lot of its impact. A key step of reaching our state with the gospel of Christ is to be active in the movement of God across our state. As the saying goes,