In the television series, Star Trek, a crew member usually wore a red shirt. When an away (from the ship) mission was organized to explore new worlds, watchers knew the unnamed character who wore the low-ranking uniform of the red shirt would likely be the one who died.
The red shirt, in literature, movies, and television, has become synonymous with the disposable character of a story line.
Today’s society surrounds us with talk of heroes who save the world, and we often feel pushed toward unrealistic levels of success. Yet I have come to realize, though a contributing member of society, I will not become the hero, or the CEO, or the multi-million dollar star. I will always be a worker bee, disposable to the world, using my talents in service of others. That is not a bad thing – society depends on each of us doing our part.
The nameless crew member on Star Trek was doing his part. Perhaps he had dreams of being Captain of his own ship one day, but he was willing to put in the work needed to serve the needs of the ship. How excited he must have felt at the opportunity to be part of an adventure on the away mission, even when it put him in danger. Even when his life was required, he proudly wore the red shirt.
As I walk the path God has prepared beforehand for me to walk in, I am content to be the nameless crew member. I am willing to put on the soldier’s rough uniform.
I have worn the red shirt to deal with child sexual abuse, to learn parenting, and to overcome various other struggles. I put on the red shirt to fight breast cancer and depression. I put on God’s armour to stand strong in normal, daily life. My skirmishes may be similar to yours, or they may be very different, yet no matter the battle, we do not stand alone. God’s army has battalions of others also called to put on the red shirt.
Putting on the red shirt to serve God promises to be an adventure. Wearing the red shirt will likely not lead to earthly recognition or reward, and will probably lead to suffering and struggles, yet wearing the red shirt in God’s army is an honour.
Will you wear the red shirt?
The shields of his mighty men are colored red, the warriors are dressed in scarlet…
(Nahum 2:3a NKJV)