Spiritual Dollars And Sense
Giving, with what kind of givers is God pleased with?
In the last days of the Civil War, the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, fell to the Union army. Abraham Lincoln insisted on visiting the city. Even though no one knew he was coming, slaves recognized him immediately and gathered around him in large numbers. He had liberated them by the Emancipation Proclamation, and now Lincoln’s army had set them free.
According to Admiral David Porter, an eyewitness to the events, Lincoln spoke to the large gathering of people around him, and he said these words, “My poor friends, you are free. Free as air. You can cast off the name of slave and trample upon it. Liberty is your birthright.”
But, Lincoln also warned them not to abuse their freedom. He said, “Let the world see that you merit your freedom. Don’t let your joy carry you into excesses. Learn the laws and obey them.”
That is very much like the message Jesus gives to those whom He has liberated by His death and resurrection. His death on the cross has freed us. Jesus gives us our true birthright, spiritual freedom. But that freedom isn’t an excuse for disobedience. Instead, it forms the basis for learning and obeying God’s laws.
So, as we celebrate our freedom as a nation this week, let’s merit, or value our freedom by recognizing the responsibility that goes along with it. And as Christians, and followers of Christ, we have freedoms as well. But we cannot use that freedom to do whatever we want. We must continue to follow in God’s ways, and examine His word for the direction that we should go.
Enjoy your 4th of July, celebrate your freedom, value the freedom you have been given by God, but make sure that you also acknowledge the responsibility that goes along with freedom.
Why do so many kids today act the way that they do? Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that they are simply imitating their parents? Today is Father’s Day, and we celebrate all the dads that have meant so much to us. But I especially applaud the fathers that have in the past, and are today, setting good examples for their children to follow. Fathers who lead their children in the right direction to go, and all the time, lead them closer to God.
Harry Chapin’s song, Cat In The Cradle says, “I’m gonna be like you dad, you know I’m gonna be like you.” And in that song, we see the child growing up to be just like his dad. Why? Because that is what he saw growing up. Rodney Atkins sings a song, Watching You, where he learns that his son is picking up some of his bad habits, and so he goes and prays about it. Later he sees his son praying, and the chorus starts out like this, “He said I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool? I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you.”
Whether we like it or not, our children are watching us. Allie is already a copy cat for anything that me or Nellie will do, and so we have to be very careful what we say and do. Your kids WILL follow you.
James Bryan Smith begins a chapter of his book by telling a story about taking his six year old son to an amusement park. While at the park, he and his son got on a ride. A teenage boy buckled them into their seats and then started the ride. The entire time during the ride, James Bryan Smith felt a panic in his heart for fear that his son would fly out of the ride.
Here is what he says about the event, “With white knuckles and gritted teeth I prayed the entire ninety seconds for the ride to end. I looked over at Jacob, who was laughing and having a great time.”
After the ride was over, he and his son sat down on a nearby park bench, and Smith asked his son, “Weren’t you scared? That ride was pretty wild. Why did you get on a ride like that?”
His son simply looked at him, and answered with childlike honesty, “Because you did, dad.”
Well, this is the kind of trust we should have in our Heavenly Father. Because God sent His Son to this earth in human form, Jesus (God in human flesh) set us an example of how to live. He defeated death, and is now up in Heaven with the Creator. And He longs for us to do the same, to live lives of faith that lead to a relationship with the Father. And the great thing is, if we can do it, our kids might just follow in that direction too. And some day, when they have a right relationship with God, we might ask them why they believe, and why they have a faith like they do? And hopefully they will say to us, “Because you did, dad or mom or grandma or grandpa.”