Thankful for Opportunities and Freedom

Posted on: November 10th, 2013

We live in a wonderful country full of opportunities and freedom.  Jeff Bezos founded in 1994 and at first ran the company out of his garage.  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started the Apple Company in 1976 by building computers from a garage.  Then there are those ideas that should have never worked, but they did.  The pet rock fad in the 1970’s made Gary Dahl a millionaire even though the craze lasted for only six months.  Don’t you wish you had thought about antenna balls or the Snuggie?

Anyone can improve with education, hard work, and commitment.  We see this played out every day as disadvantaged children grow up to make something out of their lives.  They rise above their background and hardships to enjoy a better life than they had as children.

While our country ensures everyone’s right and freedom to follow their dreams, it does not come free.  First, we should be thankful to our soldiers past and present, who pay a price with their service and some with their lives.  Then we ought to be grateful to our Founding Fathers who gave us rights with these in mind.  Next, let’s not forget about all those who helped us along the way by making sacrifices for our good.  The truth is none of us makes it on our own.

Even with all the possibilities before us, there is no guarantee we will achieve our dreams.  There are just too many events out of our control to be sure of success.  Besides, I can do everything in my power to make it and still fall short.  The problem is we make mistakes even when doing our best because we do not have all the answers or perfect insight.  So my effort may not be good enough due to my own flaws.

I believe people tend to remember our successes more than they do our failures.  Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, started his dream when he was sixty-five years old.  He had the door shut on him 1009 times before finding a taker for his chicken recipe.  Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.”  It took him 1,000 light bulbs before he created one that worked, and the list could go on.  The main key for victory is to never give up and to always learn from your past mistakes.

Just as we live in a wonderful country with opportunities and freedom, we live in a world full of spiritual hope.  So while making something of ourselves in this life is great, the real blessing is we can build for ourselves a better life in heaven. (Matt. 16:26-27)  There are endless opportunities to serve and please God because He gives us the freedom to do this if we want. (Rev. 22:17)

However, to benefit from this chance we must overcome the disadvantages and hardships of sin. (Rom. 3:23-26)  We do this in the same manner as children who rise above their problems; by education, hard work, and dedication. (Rom. 1:16-17)  Only when God is most important to us will we make the effort needed to succeed. (Matt. 16:19-21)

We are all free to accept the blessings offered by God, but this freedom has a cost.  The price paid was beyond anything we could pay and the one who paid it did so for our good. (1 Cor. 6:20)  Jesus, the Son of God, gave His life a ransom for our sins. (Matt. 20:28)  He offered Himself willingly because He loves us and He wants us to have freedom from sin. (John 15:13)  Christians are citizens in a wonderful kingdom with blessings found nowhere else. (Eph. 2:19-22)

Think about what the apostles did to help with our salvation.  They not only put their lives on the line, but most lost their lives to bring us God’s message.  Paul describes his life and work “as sheep for the slaughter.” (Rom. 8:36)  And before their eventual death, they suffered great abuse to get the Word out.  We owe a debt to Jesus and His apostles that we can never repay.

While our earthly dreams can fail us, God guarantees our spiritual goals.  When we know the right information, work hard to please God, and remain diligent, success will follow. (2 Peter 1:5-10)  It is not that we never mess up or fall short, because we do. (1 John 1:8-10)  However, no one or nothing can derail our salvation if we stay true to God. (Rom. 8:35-39)

Christians are not perfect, but they always strive toward perfection. (Heb. 6:1-3)  That means when we sin we ask God’s forgiveness and try not to make the same mistakes over and again. (1 John 1:9)  But no matter how often we sin God is willing to pardon us through the blood of Christ. (2 Peter 3:9)  We should also learn from our weaknesses and missteps to do better in the future than we have in the past.  The key is to get back up from our falls with more resolve to do right.

Terry Starling