Chris Shimmen

Be a man with a conviction of duty

When we act on the courage of our convictions and do our duty we feel alive and spiritually broad and tall, writes Chris Shimmen who is part of the MPower leadership team,  Elim’s national men's ministry.

Twelve hand-picked men are ready. Their submarine, HMS Tuna, had surfaced off the coast of occupied France. It’s a cold, but a calm and clear December night in 1942. Operation Frankton is in full swing. Six two-man Cockle canoes are ready to launch into the night and commence one of the most notorious and daring missions of WWII.

One of the canoe skins snagged and ripped as it was being brought up to launch; it was unseaworthy. Twelve men became ten. Marines Ellery and Fisher would have to return home on Tuna. Fisher broke down and wept – he would be left behind and his comrades would have to proceed with the mission a canoe down.

The opportunity and allegiance of duty to operate alongside his buddies – for pride, badge and country – burst like a balloon in his heart.

The actions of Fisher echo a feeling that, I believe, is woven deep inside every man. A deep sense of duty and doing what’s right regardless of the cost, for the greater good. Fisher’s life was, in all probability, saved that night but this wasn’t his primary concern.

He wanted to fulfil his role, with his team, to do what he was selected and trained to do, and what his commanders and country needed him to perform. He was a man with a conviction of duty.

King David typifies a man of duty. On returning to his home in Ziklag, his life was turned upside down (1 Samuel 30). The Amalekites had ransacked his home town and stripped him and his men of their families, homes and possessions.

David strengthened himself in the Lord primarily and enquired of his duty in the situation (1 Samuel 30:6-8). The moment David received the ‘light’ of direction from God – to chase down the Amalekites and retrieve all that was lost despite them heavily outnumbering his men in number, morale and energy – he took up his duty.

God fundamentally dictates our duty as believers – to him and the world around us. The ‘heart of Marine Fisher’ lives at the core of each of us and burns like a fire; we desire nothing more than to kindle the strength and courage to carry it out.

When we don’t, we feel like a shadow of our true selves. When we do, a wave of grace and inner strength washes through the depth of our being.

“This is hard,” we say through gritted teeth, and it’s often through unease, sweat, pain and tears that we carry it out. To love our wives sacrificially; to lead in the home uncompromisingly; to defend and uphold our nation’s Judeo-Christian values fervently; to follow the leading of the Spirit in all our endeavours diligently; when we act on the courage of our convictions to do our duty we feel alive and spiritually broad and tall. We feel the men we were created to be.

Lord Nelson stoked the embers of this in his men’s hearts when Britain’s values, families and lives were on the brink of invasion, signalling from HMS Victory the immortal words: “England expects that every man will do his duty.”

God expects us, and our nation and families need us, to unite and do our duty too. Lord, give us the direction. Lord, give us the strength.

ChrisChris Shimmen served in the Royal Marines (RM) for fifteen years before taking a step of faith in 2010, laying down his military career and pursuing a strong call to full time ministry.


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