Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:7-7 ESV
July 4th, 1974 was a hot and humid day in West Plains Missouri, and a perfect day for a church picnic. But what my wife Nancy I remember most about that day is the birth of our oldest son, Chris. The labor pains had begun while we were playing frisbee with our friends in the Jack’s Fork River, but Nancy was having so much fun she declined to tell me until her contractions were five minutes apart. Speeding in a pick-up truck up two miles of dirt road and then another twenty-five on asphalt is something neither one of us will ever forget! But amazingly, right at 11:45 that evening, the adventure of being a mom and dad began, and those small details of that one day are still precious to us after all these years.
On a different 4th of July, two hundred and forty-five years ago our nation was born. On another hot sweltering day in Philadelphia, the Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. It is a day we celebrate, not just because our nation began, but because it was founded with the idea that, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Today’s verse tells this same idea by reminding us that we need to honor and respect everyone, (And even pay our taxes!) There are plenty of things we could find to complain about, criticize or even make fun of about our country and its leaders. But our hope and confidence is not in our leaders or even our friends. It lies only in God. He is still in charge no matter who lives in the White House. His laws do not change every time congress passes another piece of legislation or the courts rule with their opinions. Most importantly we must remember that we are commanded to love one another. You might say, “That is a pretty tough row to hoe, you don’t know my family, my fellow church members and my neighbors!” Hey if this were easy God wouldn’t have made it a command! But what is impossible for men, is possible for God. He sent Jesus to the cross to die for us all. There the ground is level and we are equally in need of His grace which alone can give us real life, real liberty and real happiness that will last forever and ever!
Life Liberty and Happiness by Peter Caligiuri first published in the Sunshine Newsletter Copyright 2021 all rights reserved use by permission only