The concept of “freedom” for many of us resides in the reality of daily living in a secular culture designed by us to further our own interests often without regard for the needs of others. To express this sentiment may be trite but it finds its foundation in the notion that freedom is connected to the holy grail of individual fulfillment no matter the cost to us and to others. We are entitled to and we are encouraged by our culture to achieve our dreams and those dreams may often be tied to the material. How much money can I earn? How much power or influence can I achieve? How much security can I muster? How many “things” can I accumulate? The sentiment is often expressed somewhat facetiously in the slogan “whoever dies with the most toys wins”.
True freedom, of course, has nothing to do with asset accumulation and ladder climbing and has everything to do with how we connect with one another in an effort to make a difference in our lives and most importantly in the lives of others. If we are Christians we should realize that God directed this development through the saving act of Jesus who liberated us from our slavery to the things of this world. We have the ability to be truly free to choose to really love and in doing so to wear our emancipation for all to see that they too might choose to enjoy such freedom.
The irony of all of this of course is that “appearances” at least in the eyes of the world rule the hearts of many. For that reason many would shake their heads at the notion that a repentant prisoner incarcerated in a penal institution who has discovered his or her Creator and discovered the power of God’s love is much more free than the CEO of a large public corporation whose god is the money he or she earns and the influence or power he or she peddles.
We all need to remind ourselves often of these realities as we go about our daily lives. While we are entitled to follow our dreams and to earn a good living and to take prudent steps towards our financial security we tread dangerously if we pursue these things without regard to the very real needs of others. We will inevitably be judged by how much we have loved and the material things we have accumulated along the way will be of no real importance unless we have demonstrated that the material blessings that God has provided us are in essence a trust fund to be used not just for ourselves but for those around us. We need to be detached from the material in order to fully experience God’s blessing of freedom.