Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I once heard preacher Tom Ellsworth tell of visiting the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.   He stopped at a souvenir stand across the street to check out the wares.   He picked up a little bronze replica of the flag raising memorial to the Marines who fought at Iwo Jima in WW2.   The disinterested man behind the stand suddenly perked up, sensing a potential sale. “Cheap!” he said with a smile.  “Only $10!”   Tom nodded, put the bronze replica back and walked on, thinking to himself, “No, not cheap…. not cheap at all.”   In 36 days of fighting, the Marines sustained over 25,000 casualties on Iwo Jima—including 7,000 fatalities.   More Marines received the Medal Honor for their service at Iwo Jima than for any other battle in U.S. history.   There was nothing cheap about it.

On Memorial Day, we as Americans remember such sacrifice.   Though we enjoy our freedom at no cost, we remember that others paid a great price.   Our freedom is free, but it is not cheap.   So we value our freedom.  We do not take for granted the privileges it provides…. we can worship without fear, we can speak openly without reprisal, we can choose our vocation and share in the rewards of our labor, we can have a voice in our government, we can go visit our family without driving through a war zone.  Today we pause to remember these blessings and to say thank you to those who made them possible.

Every week, we as Christians also pause to remember another sacrifice—the sacrifice of Christ.   Though we enjoy our salvation at no cost, Jesus paid a great price.   Yesterday I held in my hand the communion bread and remembered Jesus’ body, broken for me.   I held the communion cup and remembered Jesus’ blood, shed for me.   God’s grace is free, but it is not cheap.   So we value our salvation.  We do not take for granted the privileges it provides…. God’s forgiveness for our past, His powerful presence in our lives, joy and peace, the ability to begin to live more like Christ, a supernatural strength to endure trials, a new and living hope.   I value that hope highly.   Our salvation is free, but it is not cheap.  It is the most valuable thing we shall ever possess.  So today, we pause to say to the One who made it possible:  Thank you.

                                                        Matt Proctor
                                                        Ozark Christian College

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