It was humbling to accept a memorial flag for a brave soldier who always considered BCHFS to be his home.
Freedom is not free. Most of us have heard this statement. The freedoms we enjoy as Americans come with a difficult price to the countless men and women who have served our country.
Recently, I was reminded of this cost. In September, I was asked to attend the 50th Class Reunion for the 1968 graduates of a high school in southern Illinois. The reason I was asked to attend was because of a young man, who I never knew. The young man lived at the Baptist Children’s Home from 1959 to 1966 and returned home in 1966 to finish high school in 1968 with this class. Tragically, he was killed in Vietnam under hostile attack on August 31, 1969. I was almost six months old the day this young man paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country and for me.
His high school class wanted to memorialize his sacrifice by presenting a flag to his family. Upon contacting this young man’s family, the class was asked to instead present the flag in his memory to the Baptist Children’s Home because he “always considered the Baptist Children’s Home to be his home.”
What a humbling honor it was for me to represent thousands of Illinois Baptists and believers and share information about the work and ministry of the Baptist Children’s Home to a group who only remembers this friendly, likable, and kind classmate as a 17 and 18-year-old kid. Fifty years later, they vocalized how his life was apparently shaped by the work of this ministry.
The sacrifice of this young man and so many more to ensure our freedoms have come with such a difficult cost. Freedom is not free.
I wonder how many of us truly believe and fully understand that to have freedom means someone else had to pay a price?
I wonder about a young mother holding her baby for the first time. Did she understand the cost he would have to pay? Despite the supernatural events surrounding His birth, I wonder if she really knew that even her freedom would come at such a terrible cost.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! -John 8:38
The words recorded in Luke 1:26-33 say, “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.’ ”
We as Americans are truly blessed by our warriors. Those who defend our freedom. However, despite even their sacrifice, this kingdom will one day come to an end. What a promise that Mary was given-that her son’s kingdom would never end!
As we enter the Christmas season, may we be reminded of the warrior Lamb who conquered death and sin for all humanity. Our freedom from sin and death came with a cost. The one who paid the cost was without any sin. He was the perfect sacrifice for such and imperfect, sinful and dark world – the only Hope for humanity.
Please join me this Christmas in being intentional about telling others about the One:
…who has bought our freedom
…who loves us more than we are able to understand
…who is the only source of Hope when all is hopeless
…who desires to be LORD of our life
…whose Kingdom will never end.
This Christmas may we all consider our freedom because of our Lord. Our hope and peace is not found in the dwindling balance of our checkbooks, the number of presents we can or cannot buy, the meals that we prepare, the number of parties we attend or even the deals that we get. Instead our Hope can only be found in that little baby who became the One who bought our Freedom.
As I reflect on my first year as your Executive Director and the more than 1,300 people our organization has served this year, I commit that we will be intentional about the gospel of Jesus being presented to each life that our ministry touches. Will you join us? Will you commit to sharing Jesus with your family, with your neighbors, with your co-workers, with a stranger? Will you commit to praying for our staff and those with whom we minister as we work to heal, protect, and restore? Will you consider a love and sacrificial gift to this ministry? As we move into our 100th year of ministry, will you consider a gift that helps not only today, but positions the ministry to move forward to the next 100 years and to be able to expand our ability to serve more and to share the Way to freedom with more? The needs are vast.
But, Praise be to God for our freedom!