Weekly Thought – October 24, 2023
Fred often listened to men who came to his office talking about “needing more freedom.” They were surprised when he didn’t give them the old “follow your heart” talk, but rather emphasized the price of freedom and its price tag.
Some leaders in business and in ministry I know feel trapped… “I’m called by God to do this, but I don’t like certain aspects of the job and I don’t feel free to change them.” This regularly depresses them. Pastors sometimes feel like slaves to the church, and know that slaves have very few options. They have emotional options, of course – they can be dedicated, enthusiastic, willing to use their best talents, or they can drag their feet, insolent, and difficult to get along with. They do have internal control. My friends who are business leaders experience the same entrapment, but have the same attitudinal options.
When feeling trapped they key is to recognize you’re serving the wrong master. We are all to be slaves of Christ, not slaves of the church or the corporation. This freedom to serve Christ alone, however, requires discipline. It comes with a price. All freedom does. One of my wife’s friends once told her, “Your husband has more freedom to express his opinion than anybody else I’ve ever met.” Mary Alice replied, “He pays a price for it.” It is true. Mavericks must accept the price of being an outsider. So we who want to be free to serve Christ alone must accept the cost. It is dishonest to want the benefits without paying the price.
A lot of people try to lease freedom instead of buying it. Leasing (trying in small ways to be something you’re not in order to please people) is cheaper. It provides some breathing room. But by leasing you never gain ultimate freedom. Freedom must be purchased – and the price is not set by you. You decide you want it and then you pay whatever it costs. If you try to acquire it at a price you determine, be aware you are leasing, not owning.
The price of freedom to serve Christ alone is often your willingness to be disliked. It may cost you your job. It may cost you some relationships. You may be ostracized by your peers. But there is a value that is priceless.
The desire for total freedom has to be tempered. Freedom is not irresponsibility. Freedom is an environment in which you discharge your responsibility. I believe one reason for America’s productivity is that for the first time in history responsible people have lived and worked in an environment of freedom. The Puritan conscience carried the message: “You have a talent which you have to steward; one day you’ll stand before God and be judged for the way you developed it.” When you put that mindset into an environment of freedom you have the potential for tremendous productivity.
The more total we can make our commitment to Christ, the freer we can be. The ore we discipline our desires, the stronger will be our opportunities for a life well-lived. When we understand true freedom does not represent lack of constraint but the ability to restrict ourselves in order to accomplish our soul’s deepest yearnings.
This week think carefully about: 1) When do I think “I wish I had more freedom”? 2) How have I determined to calculate the cost of true freedom? 3) Who models freedom in Christ for me?
Words of Wisdom: “Freedom is not irresponsibility. Freedom is an environment in which you discharge your responsibility.”
Wisdom from the Word: Call to Faithful Stewardship: “Get dressed for service and keep your lamps burning.” (Luke 13:35 NET Bible)