The television mini-series Band of Brothers, based on a book by Stephen Ambrose, recounts the true and heroic story of a group of soldiers during World War II. Against all odds, these men, like so many others in times of war, bonded in a way that knit their lives together with as strongly as family. The overarching theme of the story is that through trial and triumph brotherly bonds of commitment are forged that make great accomplishments possible and tragedy manageable.
When selecting the title of his tome, Ambrose drew on a phrase first coined by Shakespeare in the play Henry V. During a speech before the Battle of Agincourt, King Henry sought to motivate his men in before the coming carnage. He evoked the age old human emotions of camaraderie and and filial affection by declaring that if they would bond together in battle, like a “band of brothers“, they would for years to come commemorate what they were able to accomplish together.
“But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”
Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV Scene iii
All great accomplishments require the collaboration and commitment of a group of people, willing to interact together like family for the sake of a greater cause. If we want to accomplish anything of significance, we must identify our own “band of brothers.” And if we want to be positioned to navigate the storms and tragedies of life well, we must invest deeply in this who would become our “band of brothers.”
Thousands of years before the mini-series and the deft movements of Shakespeare’s quill, Daniel understood the benefit of nurturing and cultivating his own “band of brothers.” When he arrived in Babylon as an exile and captive of the conquering Chaldean Empire, he was faced with what must have been one of the most terrifying moments of his young life. Identified as skilled, good looking and knowledgable, he and a few friends were selected to be trained for royal service. While this might sound like a stroke of good fortune, the very first command they were given, was to violate the laws of God and eat food that was forbidden by the Torah.
Together with his “band of brothers,” Daniel asked permission of those in authority, to abstain from the required diet. The result of their courageous obedience to God, was astounding. They rose above their contemporaries and were identified as being without equal. Daniel 1:19-20 tells us that the king found that, “among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Michael, and Azariah . Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding… he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.” The result of courageously obeying God, with his band of brothers, was the first of a series of pivotal moments in which Daniel stood out from the crowd. This marks the beginning of his dramatic political ascent to the highest reaches of power in the world at that time.
About a year later, the king had a dream, and no one in the royal court was able to tell him what it meant. Daniel 2:12 tells us, “the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed: and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.” In spite of this ominous threat, Daniel did not cower or flee. He did not make up excuses are attempt to cast aspersions on someone else. Instead, he gathered his band of brothers and prepared for action. We pick up the story in Daniel 2:17, “Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hannah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery and that his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”
As a result of the actions of Daniel and his crew, they experienced another miraculous move of God. The interpretation of the king’s dream was revealed to Daniel. What ensued is nothing short of extraordinary. Daniel was once again promoted, this time to be the ruler over the entire province of Babylon. Babylon held the capital city of the entire Empire, and the post to which he was assigned carried extreme prestige and influence.
When we seek God with the support of other men and women, who are committed to pursing Him as well, we lay the foundation for God to be able to do incredible things in and through us. So, how can we go about developing our own band of brothers hers? How can we find others who are committed to pursuing God together with us in all circumstances? Here are a couple of suggestions to consider:
Tips for Building a Band of Brothers:
- Be 100% Committed To God – The first step is to ensure that we are personally willing to chase after God with our whole heart. This is non-negotiable if we want others who are committed fully to God to commit to us.
- Be a Truly Great Friend – Our world is full of pseudo friendships. If we are consistent and committed as friends, eventually other incredible people will reciprocate.
- Ask God to Bring People Across Our Path – Some times finding people for our band will happen in supernatural ways. Asking his help is essential.
- Look for Others Who Are Chasing God – Keep an eye out around church. Look for people in small groups or on serve teams. Odd are potential people for your band are already serving and looking to connect.
- Join a Small Group at Church – Spending regular time with other people interested in faith increases the likelihood of finding others similar to us.
- Plan an Adventure with Acquaintances – Climb a mountain, go on a hike or take a weekend trip together with some acquaintances. Adventures have an incredible way of bonding people together.
Who do you need to invest in today, so you can accomplish the great things God designed for you to tackle? Who do you need to commit your life to, so that when trials come you will have the support to navigate stormy seasons smoothly?
Who will be your band of brothers?