My wife, Carol, is one of the few people I know who faithfully decorates graves on Memorial Day. She loves flowers and she does a wonderful job of paying her respects. I struggle with that responsibility so I’m thankful she does it so well. I get too emotional when I visit a cemetery and see all those American flags on the graves of veterans. In the history of the United States, more than a million Americans have sacrificed their lives for the love of their country. Their willingness to lay down their lives for the rest of us is truly amazing and I often wonder what this country would be like without them.
The freedom we enjoy today cost a million lives. Maybe we should all take a moment to let that sink in…………. A few minutes of respect isn’t much to ask for the blessings of liberty that we all possess as Americans. Freedom really isn’t free. In fact, it’s the most expensive possession anyone will ever have. When a million people willingly give their lives to perpetuate freedom for others, you know it’s priceless. It’s also why so many people die just trying to get here. The possibility of a place where freedom truly exists drives people to risk all, no matter how hard the journey or how great the sacrifice.
I think Jesus was talking about freedom when he made this statement, “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required.” He knew that mankind needed to be free and that the struggle to achieve this great goal would require immense sacrifice. It took 1700 more years of human endeavor before freedom was realized and the cost was extremely high but worth every sacrifice. I think he was also talking about the Kingdom of Heaven and the price of admission there. If we are willing to give everything we have, we will get everything we need. That’s the grand bargain that he is offering to all who believe.
Self-sacrifice is absolutely essential for freedom to reign here and in the hereafter. Life has no value without freedom and death will have no meaning without sacrifice. These two principles are inextricably connected. A million people have given testimony to this cause and given us a clear direction to follow. Jesus was clearly stating this expectation 2000 years ago and then He gave his life to prove Himself worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven. We all have the same opportunity to live as He did, freely devoted to all of mankind and willing to sacrifice ourselves for the greater good. Memorial Day is a powerful reminder of why we should always be grateful to those who gave us our freedom and showed us the way to Heaven.
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