Over the past two years, many of us have reevaluated our priorities, beliefs, attitudes and desires for the future, especially regarding our lives here in the United States.
As we have faced a horrific global pandemic, social unrest and divisive politics, we have realized that our actions in this generation have consequences for the next — for better or worse.
Founding Father and second president of the United States John Adams once said, “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God. … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
Practicing righteousness — living for and investing your resources in God’s purposes — can cause a national about-face and leave a legacy of liberty for future generations.
Let us consider how we can celebrate our freedom and develop the next generation by giving our time, attention and treasure.
I believe our time on this earth is priceless. While money comes and goes, our time is a finite commodity; once we spend it today, it is gone. And we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
We must invest our limited time in what matters most. All of us are guilty of wasting this precious gift, but we must choose to be intentional about investing in meaningful activities and relationships. We can choose each day to spend time with God, love and serve others as we are called, and bring joy, peace and hope to those we encounter. Each day, we have the opportunity to praise God for our freedom.
Let us embrace who God has made us to be so that we can keep our egos in check and resist the urge to make our accomplishments our sole motivation. God has made us who we are for a reason — we should invest our time and talents in the lives of others in ways that will outlast any award, trophy, title or achievement.
Every day, we interact with the people whom God has placed in our lives: our family, neighbors, coworkers and bosses, team members and clients, friends and the people we may only see once in our lifetime, such as sales representatives, waitstaff, baristas, store clerks and delivery drivers.
We should engage with those around us and give them our undivided attention. When the entire world is hurting, we have countless opportunities to show kindness, patience, respect and encouragement to one another.
In his inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said, “Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind, let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty, and even life itself, are but dreary things.”
With compassionate attention, each of us can use our liberty to improve the life of another.
While money may top the list of what we think about when we hear the word “treasure,” treasure includes more than just what we earn or give to worthy causes. Everything we receive falls into this category: our jobs, possessions, savings and entire lifestyle. Often, we think too little about how or what we can give and end up keeping more than enough for ourselves.
The choices we make now will shape the lives of future generations in ways we cannot yet understand, just as our forebears’ choices have shaped our own lives. Our Founding Fathers and those who fought in the Revolutionary War gave up immeasurable resources to ensure our freedom today.
One of the significant concerns many people have shared with me throughout the last few years is that their children’s inheritance is in danger. With a virus running rampant, the economy causing financial distress and jobs being lost, many have wondered if all they have worked for has been in vain.
The answer is absolutely not. As in the 18th and 19th centuries, our children will walk upon the ruins of what we bring down in our generation. The battles we are fighting, both internally and externally, become the stepping stones to thriving in freedom for future generations.
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