13 ¶ For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
I have a very dear friend who is a faithful preacher of God’s Word. When he was a little boy, his mother passed away and he and his brothers and sisters were placed in a state orphanage. The orphanage workers were very strict and sometimes a bit cruel. It was there that my pastor friend lived until he was finally old enough to graduate high school.
Immediately, he joined the army and was sent overseas. My friend has told me, “John, I was so happy when I joined the army. After all those years of living in the orphanage, in the army I finally had two things I had always longed for: money and freedom.”
Now that’s a shocking statement to me. Soldiers are not famous for receiving huge amounts of pay. And the army seems like more of a place where people are told everything they must and must not do, rather than a refuge of freedom. But when my friend remembered his years in the children’s home, in the army he felt “rich” and “free” as a matter of comparison. Years of sadness had made him able to see blessings that others who had lived in plenty had taken for granted.
I would bet that most of us did not grow up in orphanages, and that the majority of us had childhoods that were happier than my friend’s. And because of that, I suspect we are blind to many of the blessings that God has given us. Because we have always had these things, we take them for granted.
In today’s Scripture text (at the top), St. Paul teaches us that we should realize that freedom is a gift of God, and we should use it well. This good July 4th, Independence Day, is a wonderful day to stop and reflect on the blessings of freedom. Soldiers have labored and died that we might have freedom of religion. Will you exercise this right by going to the Lord’s House today?
Dear mamas, as you go through this week, give thanks to the Lord for your freedom. And take a bit of time to speak of these things to your children. In light of the blessings of freedom, think and be thankful, love and live well.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is about to complete his 25th year of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where these country folk deeply love their God and their country.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.