The Fourth of July has become nearly Biblical in proportions.
While driving the other day, I was struck by an alarming number of firework stands that were sponsored by churches. Aside from the fact that they blow off the fingers of way to many people every year, there’s nothing particularly wrong about them—it just seemed like an odd thing to do to raise money for church.
And more than likely, if you happened to go to church yesterday, you probably heard something about the brave service men and women—you probably even prayed for them. And why not? There’s nothing wrong with being proud for the country and wanting to protect it, right? Perhaps the minister even gave a whole sermon on how this country was formed on Biblical principles—and if that’s the case he (she) probably also mentioned what a shame it is what’s happened to this country—with gay marriage, abortion, not allowing prayer in school, etc—it’s as if this country doesn’t believe in God anymore.
I say it again: there is nothing wrong with being proud of where you live, or even praying for the people who protect it…but when your pride enters the house of God, I wonder if perhaps there’s a conflict of interest. Sometimes, I think we see this country of ours a little too possessively—instead of saying this land is God’s land, we believe that it’s our land.
Whenever I hear people get worked up about this country and how un Christian it has become, all I can think is who cares? Mark Twain, who was not a Christian, once famously said that if we want to save the country we should bring back all the missionaries and have them convert the Christians. There’s way too much truth to that wit.
Yesterday, I was thinking about what I heard someone say—about how Biblical this country used to be and how it was founded on those principles; as I thought about it, I picked up my Bible to do a nightly devotional, and it happened to be Matthew 22—the one where Jesus says, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar.” I know the verse well, but on the 4th it seemed even more important.
I happen to believe if Jesus was alive today and he gave a sermon on the 4th, it wouldn’t be about Pride of Country—I think it would be about not celebrating where you live, rather it would be about thanking God for your freedoms by living a life that is fruitful.