Eddie became tired of life and decided to leap from a bridge into the turbulent river below. Down he went into the cold, icy water. Jim, a total stranger, saw Eddie being swept downstream. Without second thought, he plunged into the water in a valiant effort to save the young man.
But, as fate would have it, the rescuer himself was floundering in the water. Eddie, who happened to be a good swimmer, noticed the man struggling desperately in the strong current. He knew that without his help the stranger would drown.
Something stirred within Eddie’s mind. With all his strength, Eddie swam over to Jim and rescued him. Saving that stranger, who had ironically made a valiant effort to save him, brought new hope and new meaning to Eddie’s life. He was a changed young man.
Sometimes it takes a crisis to shock us into our senses and bring us out of our “poor me” attitude. When shocked sufficiently, we can begin to see once again our value to God and others. This discovery helps us to appreciate how precious freedom is and how we can use this gift to rescue others who are struggling to survive the turbulence in their lives.
The Bible says it is out of love that we use the gift of freedom freely. It goes all the way back to Leviticus 19:18. “Love your neighbor as yourself” puts us into a kind of bond that truly sets us free for it loosens the restrictive bonds imposed by law. Freely we give to freedom’s cause not because of some do’s and don’ts but because of God’s grace and truth guiding us day by day. That’s why we call freedom a gift.
Christ embodies that gift for he stands as our tower of love and strength in much the same way as the Freedom Tower in New York City where the World Trade Center Towers once stood. Most of us remember that fateful day almost 15 years ago when terrorist hijackers flew two Boeing 767 jets filled with passengers into the twin towers killing over 2,700 victims in the process.
The Freedom Tower’s cornerstone was unveiled July 5th, 2004. The inscription reads, “To honor and remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and as a tribute to the enduring spirit of freedom.” On May 10, 2013, the tower was completed. Its height reaches 1,776 feet to recall our country’s independence from another infamous time of tyranny and tumult.
In essence, Jesus is the Freedom Tower for all believers. We celebrate our remembrance of him by serving one another out of love just as he did. You know, in a lot of ways, the World Trade Center represents the world for it stands for temporary gain. How quick, and oftentimes unexpectant, worldly gain can be taken from us as tragically as those two magnificent towers which were toppled down. But Jesus has triumphed over the world and brings us the kind of freedom that towers over the things of the world.
Though Jesus made a tremendous sacrifice to provide that gift of freedom, we can move in such a way that the spirit of it continues to live on through the work he has given us to do. We can stand tall and strong in that tower of freedom in Christ for he is truly our Cornerstone of faith in whom we live.
“Loving one another” as Christ has taught puts us under a more gratifying form of servitude than serving a set of restrictions that prohibit us from being free. Hence, the equation, Liberty + Love = Service to Others. This is how true, genuine, productive freedom works. NOTE: The equation for enslavement to the world, on the other hand, is Liberty – Love = Slavery to Sin.
When it comes to the gift of freedom, it’s evident that if we don’t use it, then we lose it. I agree with something that President Dwight D. Eisenhower once observed: “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the Spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” Through Christ in our lives freedom to save others from certain doom keeps us alive, gives us a positive outlook, and brings the hope of overcoming the tragedies we face.
Good News to You!