There is a Kenyan proverb that states “A satisfied man does not know another one is hungry.” Imagine spending seventy years of life under the oppressive hand of communism. The shackles of tyranny were so severe that today in the nation of Georgia the majority of those who hold leadership positions are under the age of forty. Those who are over forty were so impacted by Soviet rule that the ability to think freely or take decisive actions is just too difficult.
In 2011 there are five communist countries with a combined population of over 1.4 billion people—over 20% of the world’s total inhabitants living in Cuba, China, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. To that list we could add the 29 nations ruled by strong dictators and those nations like Mexico that are wracked with violence. It should be clear to us who live in liberty that we are indeed fortunate.
George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright wrote that “Liberty means responsibility, that is why most men dread it.”Liberty is not some light right we gain and keep. It must be nourished and fed by sage people dedicated to securing integrity, responsibility, and the proliferation of “Golden Rule” living.
Isaiah 61:1-3—The Spirit of the Lord GODis on Me, because the LORDhas anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the LORD, to glorify Him.
Thanksgiving must always be more than appreciation. If it is only pleasure or approval for blessings it will shrivel in times of hardship like some plant without water. Thanksgiving must be more than symbols and tradition, for even those eloquent expressions can fade with time into rote dancing to music few are left to understand. Thanksgiving is made rich by recognition. We have what we have because of God’s grand and faithful generosity. Finally thanksgiving is made complete by humility. We don’t deserve our spiritual liberty anymore than we do our physical, emotional, and social liberty. Our propensity to grab the reins of selfishness and to rebel against our Maker is a sordid, ancient story that goes all the way back to our first father and mother.
Thanksgiving for those who love God is a daily proclamation of the Lord’s favor—never to be taken for granted, always to bring hope. We are to be “righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify Him.” Thomas Jefferson warned that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” For us who believe in Jesus, our tree of liberty was more than refreshed, it was eternally guaranteed by the Son of Heaven whose blood ran pure and brought forth a power never before seen—sin cleansing power. For that we are grateful, blessed, nourished, and held by a love that makes freedom our awesome song.
©2011 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)