Weekly Thought – February 15, 2022
Fred, born in 1915, grew up in war time American history. His career flourished in the post war 1950s. His respect for the United States never waned. A childhood injury which left him disabled precluded his entry into the service, but he was extremely proud of his brothers who served. His observations are well worth comparing with today’s environment.
Gratitude for Freedom
I remember the remarkable remembrance of the Statue of Liberty’s 100th birthday. A friend challenged me to consider whether we are making an idol of the Statue. I certainly don’t think so, but we should keep it as a symbol, not an idol.
A symbol is an object used to represent an abstract idea, while an idol is the object of excessive devotion. The Statue as a symbol is all about freedom…the freedom of opportunity to express personal responsibility. I don’t hear anybody saying they came to America because they were irresponsible and want our great welfare system. Constant remarks about opportunity for the family highlighted the celebration. So many made who came made an investment of their sacrifice for their children.
The Statue symbolizes freedom without government oppression. I was impressed how grateful the immigrants were to become Americans. The thought occurred to me “Are we as committed and proud to be Christians?” Chief Justice Burger said, “As Americans we owe exclusive allegiance.” Christ said, “If you would be my disciple, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
A friend once asked me an intriguing question: “If we knew that next July 4th would be the second coming of Christ, would our nation prepare like we did to relight a torch on a statue over 100 years old?”
As I watched that celebration it oiled my old rusty heart. I was reminded that freedom is really a means, not an end. It is an environment which permits the use of personal responsibility. I speak to annual Chambers of Commerce meetings and hear them talking about freedom producing our standard of life. It did not. The free enterprise system could be available to almost anyone but if they were not responsible it would fail. We are seeing this as totalitarian regimes fail worldwide but capitalism doesn’t naturally flourish. It was our Christian, born of Puritan faith, sense of responsibility resulting from the belief that one day we would stand before God and be judged. This was the engine that drove our system.
We are always grateful for the privilege of being an American, but always aware that it is our stewardship of God’s gifts that is the ultimate measure.
Political freedom is a blessing but spiritual freedom has eternal, everlasting significance.
This week carefully consider: 1) How do my thoughts about freedom line up with Fred’s? 2) Are there symbols in American life I have made into idols? 3) What ways do I express gratitude for God’s blessings?
Words of Wisdom: “I was reminded that freedom is really a means, not an end. It is an environment which permits the use of personal responsibility.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17 NET Bible)