Freedom Is Not Maintenance-Free

It’s another Memorial Day. What does that mean to you? A long-awaited day off from work? Sales at the mall? Flipping meat on the grill? I wonder how that feels to the families of our fallen.

Having my new blog up and running affords me the chance to lend my voice to this precious holiday and the brave men and women it represents. However, this year, I want to approach it from an eternal standpoint.

I will ask you to consider Heaven’s reward system for a moment. The Bible says that each Christian will be rewarded according to what he has done (2 Corinthians 5:10). In other words, those who have spent their lives focused on temporary, earthly pursuits will have empty pockets in Heaven. Those who have built God’s kingdom by winning souls and discipling others will have significant treasure in Heaven because they focused on that which has eternal value. However, think for a moment about what all goes into “the Lord’s work.”

A little over a year ago I was listening to the “The Dana Show” (Dana Loesch) on 97.1 FM in St. Louis. I heard her interview Ted Nugent, and at the end of the interview, Ted said, “We’re doing the Lord’s work.” People might have heard that and chuckled. After all, he’s not exactly a clean-cut, GQ-styled televangelist, right? Let’s look at this from another angle. Suppose Billy Graham was looking to do his very first nationally televised crusade but just did not have the funds to buy the spots. A wealthy businessman steps up and contributes the entire amount needed. The crusade is successful and hundreds of thousands of people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Whose heavenly account increased as a result of that event? Would it not be both Billy Graham as well as the businessman? The work of the Lord does not just include the preaching but also those who provide/protect the platform on which the preaching takes place.

Friends, we have a platform of freedom in this country. We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to bears arms, and so on. The “product” of freedom was extremely expensive. I will use this opportunity to remind you that freedom is not a maintenance-free product. Pay attention, friends. Evil forces in our ranks have chipped away at the platform of freedom. It started in small pieces, and when they saw that only a few were noticing, they became emboldened and are now knocking off large chunks. It is far less difficult to retain freedom than it is to regain it once it has been lost. Are we even attempting to retain it? Maybe we as a society just aren’t aware of how precious it is. Heaven lauds those who gave their lives to purchase freedom. What will Heaven say of those who barely lift a finger to keep it?

America hangs in the balance. What will you allow on your watch? Do you care? Do you have your head buried in the sand, thinking it cannot happen here? How often do you thank God not only for your freedom but also for those who gave their lives to purchase it for you? The value we place on something is displayed by the gratitude we have for it. What you don’t value, you won’t protect, and what you won’t protect will be taken from you.

Let’s go back to Heaven’s reward system for a moment. The Bible says that love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10). The Bible also says that greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13). If people receive the top reward in Heaven due to being martyred for preaching the gospel, would not those who gave their lives to provide/protect the platform on which the gospel is preached also be deserving of top reward?

The sales can wait. They happen all the time. The meat will taste the same if you grill it tomorrow instead of today. Get down on your knees and thank God for those who were brave enough to purchase the freedom you partake of everyday. Ask Him what you can do to further the cause of freedom. I suggest that you think about those who you know (or don’t know) who have lost loved ones to that cause. Try to visit them. Call them. Email them. It’s great to post on social media, but nothing can replace the lost art of direct conversation. That’s where the emotional side is revealed. That’s where the full gravity of what was done for you becomes apparent. A thank you posted on social media is nice. A thank you personally delivered will mean the world to those who have lost loved ones and wonder if anyone besides them really cares.

Carry the torch, my friends. Carry the torch.

Something In Your Teeth?

Recently I went out to breakfast with a friend. It was good to catch up on how things are going with him and spend time encouraging one another. I had Eggs Benedict Florentine, which includes steamed spinach. We talked for at least an hour and I excused myself to visit the men’s room. I glanced in the mirror and realized I had a rather significant piece of spinach caught between one of my front teeth and the smaller one next to it. Ugh! I couldn’t believe I had been smiling and laughing for an hour without realizing it was there. It’s bad enough with a piece of bread or dough, but at least that is light-colored. Nobody could miss dark green! So that’s why the server was smiling so big every time I responded to her questions. How embarrassing!

God’s Word is like a mirror (James 1:22-25). Without it we can live our lives thinking that we are doing fine, when in actuality there are adjustments that need to be made. When we spend quality time in the Word, God reveals to us the areas of our lives that need to be changed. I’d much prefer to look into the mirror of the Word and promptly make the adjustments instead of having my faults, obvious to everyone except me, put on display. Thank God for His mercy and grace. Have you looked in God’s mirror today?