On the cover of Leslie’s Weekly, on July 6, 1916, was a question: “What Are You Doing For Preparedness?” Along with this title was a picture of the first “Uncle Sam.” This portrait, according to its creator James Montgomery Flagg, went on to become “the most famous poster in the world.”
Although you’ve probably never heard of Leslie’s Weekly, you know this picture well. Uncle Sam, the silver-haired and bearded gentleman, with the starred top hat, stern face, and long pointed finger jutting out right at you. Yeah, Uncle Sam—arguably the most well-known personification of the United States—began on this date nearly 100 years ago.
Before we get all caught up in the patriotism of the picture and the 4th of July weekend, let’s go back to the question on the cover of the illustrated newspaper: “What Are You Doing For Preparedness?” We have to remember what was going on at that time. Nothing big…just the First World War. We’re talking huge! The United States would join this War about 9 months later.
The U.S. Military used this famous poster of Uncle Sam with the words “I Want You!” to recruit men to serve their country. Were these guys prepared to serve? I don’t know, but they responded to the call.
When I think of the word “preparedness,” I don’t think of World Wars. I think of getting ready, getting organized, the Boy Scouts, or even John the Baptist.
Yes…John the Baptist. He was actually a cousin of Jesus. And John’s sole mission was to prepare the way for Jesus to come.
Mark 1:2-3 reads: It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way—a voice of one calling out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord. Make straight the path for him.’”
John the Baptist, though a bit eclectic as he hung out in the desert and wore camel hair and ate locusts, was this messenger Isaiah referred to. He prepared the way for Jesus to come. John’s mission was not to promote himself, but to promote the One greater than he. John got people ready to hear from Jesus. John planted seeds and pulled weeds in order for Jesus to come into people’s lives. He prepared the way. He pointed people to their true need…a Savior.
What are you doing for preparedness?
Are you preparing the way with people you know? Are you working the ground and soil of their souls, planting seeds and pulling weeds so they can have an encounter with Jesus?
Friends, we live in messed up, broken, hurting world. A world that needs to know Jesus. What will you do to prepare the way for the broken to know Jesus?
“Blessed are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15).