On the 4th of July we typically gather with friends and family and celebrate the freedom we have as citizens of the USA. We watch parades, cook on the grill, and/or enjoy some pool/lake/ocean time. Then the 5th hits and the flag t-shirt goes back in the drawer for another year.
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus is speaking to His disciples when He tells the parable of the talents. He tells of a master that calls three on his servants together and gave them his stuff to watch over. The master went away and it is here that we find Jesus’ focus of the story. The first and second servant both doubled their value, however, the third servant went and buried his portion. When the master returned he called his accounts and found the first two servants to be faithful and he gave them even more. When he got to the third servant, the servant explained what he had done. The master took the single amount that he gave the servant and gave it to the first one. The third servant was so worried about the master coming home and calling him to account, that he did nothing with what he was given. The master explained that he could have at least given it to the bankers to make some interest. The paraphrased words of Jesus are as follows: to those who use what they have, more will be given. To those who don’t use it, it will be taken away and given to others.
So what are you doing with your talent? What are you doing with the freedom that is so easily worshipped on July 4th? We are free because God, for some specific reason, placed us in this country right now. Most of those reading this post did not escape a war torn country and seek asylum here in Maine. Most of those reading this post were simply born into the USA by default. We didn’t fight in the revolutionary war. We didn’t sign the declaration of independence. We enjoy what was given to us by God in His graciousness.
I appreciate this Don, but can you get to the point so I can go eat a burger? Sure thing.
Last year, 439 people came to Portland, ME and Lewiston, ME to seek refuge from a dangerous country. They left definite instability to come to the US. I know what some of you are immediately thinking so let me tell a story from my past. I used to work at an insurance company in Portland. Due to the location of the office, we would see a large amount of Iraqi folks come in looking for car insurance. I remember one gentleman who came in every month to pay his bill and to refer others to our company. At first glance he would probably illicit specific thoughts in some people’ minds (taking OUR jobs and OUR resources). This guy however, was not a lazy ‘foreigner’ looking for a handout. He was a physician in Iraq and enjoying life when some soldiers walked into his home, pulled a gun on his wife and children, and gave him 20 minutes to pack his things and make his way out of Iraq due to what he believed. He can’t practice medicine here unless he completes much more schooling (which isn’t cheap). This isn’t a single incident. So what are you doing with your freedom?
126 million children work in hazardous conditions, often enduring beatings, humiliation, and sexual violence by their employers. The annual market for men, women, and children sold into the sex and labor trade is $150 billion – #2 only behind the international drug trade. A Christian man was arrested in Morocco on January 18th, 2015 for converting from Islam to Christianity.
On July 4th I wonder how many of us will dig up our freedom for a day, look at it, and bury it again on the 5th because we are worried about losing it. We have more freedom than at least 97% (probably more) of the countries of the world. Our freedom should be worth so much more than a flag dessert made of blueberries, strawberries, and whipped cream. You can give money to organizations fighting for these causes. You can get involved locally. Some of the freedom we enjoy cannot be fully enjoyed by those around us due to financial restriction. How can you multiply the freedom God has given us in your neighborhood?
To those who used what I gave and made more – I will give more. To those who hid what I gave until I return – I will take that away.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent, which is death to hide,
Lodg’d with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he, returning, chide
-John Milton, On His Blindness