“I look forward to a great future for America — a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.” ~ John F. Kennedy
As we celebrate Independence Day, it gives us pause to examine who we are and why we are who we are. President John F. Kennedy gave us an inkling of that when he reminded us that we are supposed to be a nation that exercises moral restraint with wisdom and purpose. Those are the things that make us, truly, who we are. It is not our military strength, our wealth, or our power. It is our ability to look through those things to see how they ground us. If we exercised our military might without constraint, without wisdom, or without purpose, we would soon become a “former nation” because we would crumble.
It is the same with our spiritual lives. Some people believe that the be all and end all of their lives is to garner prestige, recognition, wealth, or influence. If we achieve any of those in our lives, however, we need to acknowledge that they came from God and that God gave them to us to use judiciously. We have to have a greater purpose in life than to get more. Our purpose should be to increase, not our own fame or coffers, but the Kingdom of God around us.
As we celebrate Independence Day, let us remember the many people who fought so that we could be free. There have been a lot of people who gave their lives in the battlefields fighting for a true purpose: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They gave their lives willingly because we were more important to them than their own lives. We would dishonor them and their sacrifice if we did not do all that we could to ensure peace and tranquility for all. Let us also remember those presently in the military, that they are safe and that they have the opportunity to come home soon.
Jesus gave us purpose: go into the whole world and tell the Good News. When we do so by our words and by our deeds, we honor Him who gave His life so freely for us all. Jesus was not a man merely of words, He was a man of action. We need to be the same. Called to action, we are asked to put the needs of others above our own. We are asked to reach out to the poor and the needy, to visit those who are secluded by illness, age, or incarceration, to give comfort to the sorrowing and hope to the discouraged. When we do these things, we live up to the call given to us by Jesus Christ.
The Fourth of July can be — and should be — a day of celebration. However, our celebration should remind us that our lives need to have purpose and that we need to live out that purpose for the sake of all.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for our nation. Pray for peace. Pray that all people can love and respect each other. Pray that we never stray from the Lord.