Yesterday our nation celebrated its independence. It is a day of flag waving, parades, get-togethers, and cook outs. Hot dogs are the big thing on July 4th, which is why Nathan’s hot dog eating contest is held on the holiday—last year’s winner ate 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Knowing that fact makes me feel a little less guilty about my own food indulgence.
For many, Independence Day is a time to reflect on the nation, and on our freedoms. The word freedom gets thrown around a lot these days. Everybody wants to be free from something or someone. Many use the word to assert their rights, as they see them. For those of us who follow Christ, we remember the higher calling as written in our Bible:
…You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” –Galatians 5: 13-14
In Christ we have been freed—freed from sin, from death, from everything but the pure love of God from now until eternity. Interestingly, our faith understands freedom from those things is meant to open us to the larger possibility of freedom for other things. We have been freed to serve others humbly, with a spirit of love. We are freed for loving neighbor as ourself. We are freed to be as Christ and not worry about opinions.
As followers of Jesus, it is important that we be good stewards of the freedom graced to us. We have not been cut loose to go our own way but harnessed to pull alongside others until we build the Kingdom come. Be grateful for your freedom. Use it. Guard it. Steward it. Offer it to others in all you say and do.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana