“Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God (Isaiah 50:10).” As Americans, we value our independence. This week we are celebrating Independence Day and our freedom as a country. We remember the joy our forefathers found in their independence from rule by an earthly king.
Independence is an important value we share as US citizens. In pioneer days, people had to be self-reliant. Their nearest neighbor may have been miles away. They needed to be able to take care of themselves and all their needs. Many people fed themselves from their own produce and livestock, made their own clothes, and built their own furniture. My grandfather personally built a house for his family. That’s practically unheard of these days but was fairly common a few generations ago.
It is difficult for us to give up this independence. We want to be able to take care of ourselves and to have the freedom to choose what we want to do. It is hard, even humiliating at times, to depend on other people to take care of us, especially when we’re used to doing everything ourselves. One of the most difficult aspects for those who live in these residential facilities is dealing with the loss of their independence. Many of you have had to give up your cars, your ability to cook your own meals, and even your basic privacy. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to have to rely on other people so much. Many of us want to be spiritually independent as well. We want to be able to take care of our own spiritual needs. We don’t want to rely on someone else for our salvation.
When it comes to salvation, though, it is a good and right to be dependent on God. When we try to do everything ourselves, we fail miserably. We just make a mess of things. My two and half year-old son is getting to the age where he wants to do more and more things for himself. Unfortunately, this means that he ends up making a mess most of the time. There are certain things that his mother and I still need to do for him. When we try to live a good life and to please God, we constantly make a mess of things. We always fail miserably.
When it comes to important things like our salvation, we would only make a mess of things on our own. Thankfully, you can depend on Jesus Christ to do everything for you. Jesus does it all from beginning to end. He died for you. Jesus gives you His free gift of salvation through the means of grace: Holy Baptism, the Lord’s Supper and Holy Absolution. Throughout our lives we remain dependent on God to take care of us.
Lord, keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Grant that we may choose trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and serve You faithfully in our generation, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.