7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We live in a country that allows us to worship, pray and learn about God any time we want to. We are fortunate to have this privilege. Many people have fought to help us get and keep that freedom. We celebrate Memorial Day to remember people who died fighting to protect our country and our freedom. Whether you are for or against war, we should each take a moment to thank those who gave their lives in service to not just their country, but for you and me. As Christians, we should understand the weight of such a sacrifice. It is because of Jesus’ death on a cross that each of us has life eternal. And not just life after physical death, but new life right here and now. Just as our soldiers fight for us to be able to live fully in freedom today, so did Christ die, so we can live fully today as well.
As Americans, we often take both of those freedoms for granted. In some parts of the world, talking about God, praying, and going to a Christian church is against the law. People who love God or want to learn about Jesus have to meet secretly. We have the luxury of worshiping who we want, or not; going to church if we desire, or not; and using our freedom for good, or not.
My son just graduated High School. Yay! He has received several gifts in honor of his achievement. If he were to ignore those gifts, leave them on the table and walk away, we would all call that a waste. We would also call it disrespectful to the gift-givers. It is the same with our freedom. As people who live in a free country and as Christ-followers, we have gifts given to us that we should use for good. Don’t waste the gift or ignore the gift-giver. Happy Memorial Day.
God, make me an instrument of your grace in the world. Show me how to be a servant to others in big and small ways. Bring people into my life who will love me unconditionally and help guide me with your wisdom. Give me a community where I may grow deeper in love with you and others. Show me the areas where I need to adapt, grow and mature, and let your Holy Spirit guide me on the path toward a deeper faith. Thank you for your daily grace and mercy. In the name of the Creator, the Savior and the Guide, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.