The local KFC looked like the after-church fellowship place today; several FBC families stopped by, intent on commiting the sin of gluttony (well, at least one of them was, and did). It was wonderful to run into Mo (name changed to protect his out-of-the-country ministry). He and his family are here in the U.S. for a couple of months before returning to their field.
Our graduates were honored today during our morning worship service, but our pastor did make mention of those whose families have paid a sacrificial price to secure the freedoms we often take for granted (our special service honoring these heroes is scheduled for next week). The pastor reminded the graduates, and all attendees, that the blessings of life we have today are due to the selfless commitment of these brave men and women.
Freedom…it is a glorious thing. We rightly consider ourselves free because we live in America, and so we are. But what really makes freedom? It’s a nebulous word, is it not? We’ve only to open our newspaper or click on the evening news to see people right here in “the land of the free”, who are victims of enslavement in some form, be it discrimination, lack of education, abuse, hunger, or human trafficking. And the issues are compounded in other countries.
Our Lord talks about real freedom: “If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Yes, there are cruel forms of bondage here in the U.S. and around the globe, but entrapment in sin causes hopelessness here, and also in eternity. As my thoughts drift back to Mo, I decided to post this picture taken during a service where Jerry Rankin, President of the International Mission Board, spoke. The parade of flags is always touching, showing countries where we have a missions’ presence. But black flags are also somberly presented, bringing to remembrance countries where the light of Christ’s gospel has yet to dawn.
Emblazoned on the picture are the words to Joshua 1:16, which could be referred to as an Old Testament response to the New Testament’s Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8. Rankin chose that as his theme, challenging listeners to “GO” – to impact the “ends of the earth”. Mo and his wife answered that call; they’ve taken their family a two-day plane trip away, to raise their children in another culture with another language. As I talked to Mo’s mother (a fellow grandma), I commented on how hard it must be, not seeing the grandchildren often; this is the second time in three years they’ve been together. She nodded, but added – with a surrendered smile – how the family is passionate about the ministry there.
Freedom…”Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8). What freedoms are we sacrificing to let the message of freedom in Christ be heard, from the ends of our street to the ends of the world? Mo, Karen, Lynn, Kenny, Pascal, Jeremy, Peggy, Ruth, Jason, Gail…these are names of ordinary Christians, just like you and I, who have answered the call to share the message of eternal freedom. Thank God for them, and support them prayerfully and financially, if necessary. And take another look at the picture. Would you be willing to pray the words of this verse while staring at those flags?
Best wishes from lefthandrightbrain:)