Thursday, November 24, 2005

Freedom From Want

I was considering the concept of Thanksgiving and how it truly has little to do with our current circumstances, but rather our attitudes toward them in contrast with what we already have, when the following gem appeared in my inbox. I subscribe to the Steve Troxel's "God's Daily Word" and receive a daily devotional message from his ministry each morning.

I think he says it all far better than anything I could have written this morning, and so I share it with you in its entirety. (Emphasis mine)

Freedom From Want
On January 6th, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his State of the Union speech to Congress and articulated four freedoms which he said were fundamental American values. These freedoms were, Freedom of Worship, Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want. Norman Rockwell, made a series of paintings to correspond with these four freedoms, and these paintings were circulated in the Saturday Evening Post from February to March 1943. The most famous of the four paintings was the one titled Freedom from Want. In this famous painting a large family is gathered around a dinner table. The picture is full of happy faces and lots and lots of food. But the focus of the picture is an elderly woman setting down a cooked turkey which is big enough to feed a small village. Mr. Rockwell is a wonderful painter but I believe he gravely missed the point in his depiction of the freedom from want. He would even later say of his work that the painting better depicted overabundance - or perhaps overindulgence.
Today is called Thanksgiving in the United States. The origins of this holiday go back to the founding of our country but today it is a time when people gather together, eat too much food, watch too much television, and some actually try to reflect on reasons to be thankful. The idea of a time of thanksgiving would be a great worldwide time of reflection - but we need to have a much better concept of thankfulness and what it really means to have freedom from want. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Giving thanks should never be dependent on our circumstances - never based on what we have, how full our table or bank account. This is a true freedom which only comes by understanding the gift of Salvation, the joy of eternal glory, and who we are in Christ as we live the rest of our days as a child of God. Paul expressed this thankfulness best in his letter to the Philippians: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:12-13). Let's learn the secret of a thankful heart by learning that thankfulness is not dependent on what we see. True and lasting thanksgiving is only obtained through faith in Jesus Christ and God's free gift of Salvation - and then by living with an understanding of what this gift implies. Freedom from want is not obtained through having more, it is obtained by understanding what we already have. Let's begin today to live with a true Freedom From Want.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good message.

November 26, 2005  

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