My husband, Eldon Whitworth, had such encouraging words that I felt were important to share with you as we enter into the Memorial Day weekend. Here’s what he wrote:
COUNT THE COST
by Eldon Whitworth
How many of us can remember when a loaf of bread was 25 cents, or a brand-new car $4,995? How about gas? I remember when it was .53 per gallon. Now we are thankful to find it anywhere for under five bucks.
The cost of everything we value has risen over the years, yet we still find a way to pay the price. Why? Because we value or need it. We have counted the costs, the sacrifice to our budget and we decided that what we must give up is still worth the cost, even though we would prefer not to have to pay that price. We search for better deals and there is some give and take but, in the end, if we want or need that item, we find a way to pay the price to ensure we have what we need.
This system applies to all aspects of our lives and is nothing new. As we reflect on this Memorial Day, let’s think back to our founding fathers as they counted the cost and made the sacrifice when they declared our freedom. When they signed the Declaration of Independence, they knew it would cost them their lives. But they also knew that it was up to them to establish and secure what God had given them and us. In the declaration they wrote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.—”
They went on to document the atrocities that they were subjected to which had caused them to stand up for themselves. They ended the Declaration with this passage: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Our forefathers declared that their freedom and ours was worth more than their physical lives.
Ever since that day, millions of men and women have stepped up and joined the military to protect those freedoms our forefathers established, knowing it could cost them their lives, and for thousands upon thousands, it did. When confronted with the choice of their life, their safety, their family, they chose to stand tall and fight the good fight, costing them their lives, just to ensure that what we hold dear – our values, morals and liberties were guaranteed to stay strong.
Memorial Day’s purpose is not about a long weekend, a day off work, or even a time to thank those who currently serve or those who have served but are still alive. That day is reserved in November as Veterans Day.
Memorial Day is a somber, heart-felt remembrance of those who gave all, their very lives, so that we could remain free as God planned. Their unselfish sacrifice has ensured that our freedoms are secure. This weekend is a celebration of those brave men and women, a time to be thankful for their sacrifice, and to be thankful that they valued our freedoms more than their own lives.
But we will only have these freedoms as long as we continue to protect and value them. It is now up to us to continue the fight against tyranny and secure our God given rights, or we will lose them and those who sacrificed for us will have died in vain.
As I stated above, this idea is nothing new. Our founding fathers had a perfect example to follow when they made that decision. You see, our very own Father also had to make that choice. A choice between life and death, freedom and slavery. It was not his life though that he was concerned about but ours. Yours and mine. Our children’s and their children’s.
And that sacrifice He made to perfect our freedom from sin and condemnation was his own Son, Jesus Christ. As God made that sacrificial decision, Christ willingly stepped up and agreed to take on our sins and bear our costs so that we could have freedom and eternal life with Him. It didn’t come easy for Him, He struggled with it at the Garden of Gethsemane, sweating drops of blood, crying out to God his father: saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Now it is our time to memorialize that sacrifice, not take it for granted. We must celebrate Christ and the sacrifice he made for us. We must uphold these things that we find true and stand tall, willing to give our own lives to Christ just as he gave His for us. We must continue to fight the good fight and sacrifice ourselves for those good things that God has planned for us or too very soon we will lose those freedoms.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Christ died for you. Don’t give up what he died for.
Eldon and Shonda Whitworth are veterans of the US military and have seen first hand the sacrifice other service members and their families made for our nation and for our freedoms.