Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield

This is a historical novel and a fantastic book. It is the story of the 300 Spartan's who fought the massive forces of Xerxes, King of Persia at the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. But it is much more than the story of 300 warriors. First it is the story of the whole Spartan community, how they lived and how they trained; their values, etc...

This book has nothing to do with Christianity, nor does it have anything to do with the Marine Corps, however, I saw many parallels to both. For example, the book showed that the 300 Spartans knew when they headed to the Hot Gates (Thermopylae) they were't going to be comging back. It was a suicide mission so to speak. But what it showed was that these 300 Spartans understood that there are times when things in this life are larger than our own lives. This is true for the Christian. We must be willing to give our lives for Christ. This is of course also true for a Marine, who must be willing to give his life for his country, the Corps and his fellow Marines.

I want to quote from the book. This quote really struck me. It both describes our King, Jesus Christ and it also describes what the Marine Corps expects of its officers:

A king does not abide within his tent while his men bleed and die upon the field. A king does not dine while his men go hungry, nor sleep when they stand watch upon the wall. A king does not command his men's loyalty through fear nor purchase it with gold; he earns their love by the sweat of his own back and the pains he endures for their sake. That which comprises the harshest burden, a king lifts first and sets down last. A king does not require service from those he leads but provides it to them. He serves them, not they him.

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