In the United State July 4th of every year has been a day to celebrate our independence from Great Britain. It was a bitter battle but in the end the American colonies was detached from the Isle of Britain and has been a country of its own ever since. In my lifetime I have seen my country become a world leader and a country that helps fledgling countries with manpower and money and equipment and protection. The goal has always been that every country should have the opportunity to become as independent as we are in the United States. Independence has been the hallmark of the average American, we are not dependent people.
I think about my homesteader great-grandparents and how they raised a large family on a small farm in western Nebraska and how they worked hard every day to be able to survive. They did not take life easy because if they had the family would not have survived and I wouldn’t be here to tell the story. My grandparents also worked hard all their life and raised four children to adulthood. They taught their children to work hard and to enjoy the family times they had together because family was all you really could count on during hard times. My parents worked hard all their life and never depended on any government provisions or handouts. Even after retirement age they had a daycare and worked taking care of other people’s children to pay for their medicine and have a little fun money. My sister and brother and I also worked hard all our lives and learned to value the independence we learned from our elders. We were not rich in land or money but we had a rich heritage of family that made us independent in our thinking and work ethic. I am the only one left and in this stage of life I don’t feel so independent anymore. I miss my family that is gone and I seem to be searching for my place in this world. I have often heard it said that no man is an island meaning that you can’t exist totally on your own but sometimes I think that is how I live. I do not ask others for help unless I really can’t find a way to do something myself and I pay every person for whatever I need done. As I get older I find my independence slipping away and I am turning more and more to God for help because I know that without God’s help I simply can’t remain independent any longer.
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:1-8, (English Standard Version or ESV).
Perhaps this is the key to my conundrum. Perhaps the independence that I have witnessed in my own family all these years was not so much an independent spirit as much as it was a dependence upon God to see us all through the tough times as well as the good times. All my family members for all the generations I have witnessed were Christians. They seemed so capable to handle whatever life handed them. When I saw my great-grandmother recovering from surgery at an age well past eighty I saw a woman so cheerful that it was amazing to the nurses and doctors. She could be so cheerful because she loved Jesus and knew that God would take care of all her needs. When I saw my grandparent’s log cabin burn down I saw my grandmother say that the Lord giveth and taketh away and so she rolled up her sleeves and began to fill out the paperwork for the insurance and rebuild her life in a different home. She could only do this because she knew that God would take care of her. When I saw my parents bury their only son at the age of 22 years I saw them struggle with the grief that follows. They didn’t give up, no, on the contrary they continued to help with an organization for grieving parents and helped many others endure their own grief. They turned to God for the strength and compassion and healing that they needed to go on in life. They became the solid foundation of our entire family for many years. I guess you could say that each of my family members, and I could go on pages telling you about them, were ambassadors for Christ!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, (ESV).
Ambassadors have an important job and that is to represent their country well before the world. We are ambassadors for Christ and we are to represent to the world the love and compassion of Christ. Oh how I wish every person in the world knew the love of Jesus and lived their life with the teachings of Jesus. Our world would be so different. I don’t think there would be any need in this world if everyone followed the teachings of Jesus. As an ambassador for Christ perhaps this Independence Day we Christians can show our fellow Americans the kindness and grace that God extends to us through Christ Jesus. During this holiday please take the time to be kind and not arrogant. Take the time to be patient and not demanding. Take the time to show tolerance and not anger. Take the time to read the Bible and start your holiday with a good attitude rather than reaching for a beer to drown your sorrows. Be a good representative for God and have fun but be fair. And to those of you reading this that live in other countries, the message is still the same, be a good ambassador for Christ wherever you live and whatever you are doing today. Thanks, I appreciate you all.