In late-1805, with Napoleon at the height of his military and imperial power, he joined battle against both the Russians and Austrians (backed by the English) at the Battle of Austerlitz. By daring design, complete preparation and expert day-of-action movement, he then stunned the world by defeating both armies with seeming ease. As was the custom of the day, his men exulted whenever they captured an enemy's standard and brought it back to lay at the Emperor's feet. But even more of a thrill was the capture, and thus the removal for all times from any future fields-of-battle, of an enemy's cannons and artillery-pieces.
The Vendome Column is the product of the 1,200 bronze cannons and guns captured from the allied enemies at the field of Austerlitz. Napoleon's statue literally stands atop the melted-down spoils of war.
The glory of the Grand Armée is this: that even despite the loss of blood, limbs, lives and men on that battlefield, that this pillar stands for all time as a testament to their combined sacrifice and power. Even though those men are long dead and mostly forgotten, those melted-down remnants of their victory will always rise into the azure Paris sky.
My friends, may we live like the Vendome Column for Jesus. Instead of cannons and artillery, may it be us whose lives are melted-down, burned-away and shaped-together into One Church that lifts up the Glory of Jesus. May the stories of our lives rise up and spiral their way toward the Heavenlies, where our Conqueror stands relaxed and exultant.
Just like the Grand Armée, our lives are short; the days flee past; 210 years from now, we will be, like them, long forgotten. Yet if our blood, limbs, lives, days, weeks, months and years are consumed by Jesus, we are doing our part to erect a monument to His Glory today. How much better to be a nonentity for His purposes and yet give Him eternal praise, than to be "someone" in the world's eyes and, like chaff in the wind, forgotten tomorrow.
Let us abandon the Self and be wrapped into this column rising to the Throne-room. From age to age, He stands, ever victorious.