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Sunday, July 4, 2021 – A Time to Give Thanks for America

by Bob Russell

www.bobrussell.org

 

     Sunday is July 4th.  Since Independence Day seldom falls on a Sunday, this weekend provides a good opportunity for the American church to give thanks for the exceptional blessings God has bestowed on our country.  At a time when America’s flaws are overemphasized, we would do well to express gratitude for our nation’s incredible riches.

     Some church leaders are hesitant to include any patriotic emphasis in their worship services for fear of promoting nationalism.  They’re concerned about worshipping the country instead of worshipping God.  Indeed, that would be idolatry and a legitimate concern.  However, I have not observed much ungodly American idolism in the church. I have encountered many American Christians who are deeply concerned about the direction of our country, but not many who worship America or put their eternal hopes in it.  In this day and age, indifference and ingratitude are of greater concern than idolatry.

     The Apostle Paul tells us to “Give to everyone what you owe them…if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Romans 13:7). I feel that honoring and giving thanks for America on July 4th is not worshiping America any more than honoring Mother’s Day would be worshiping your mother. James 1:17 reminds us that “Every good gift comes down from God our Father…” The United States of America has certainly been one of God’s exceptional gifts.  To be patriotic is to acknowledge that while America isn’t perfect, God has poured out incredible blessings on this country.

     America has an exceptional spiritual foundation.  What other revolutionary army has a memory of its general on his knees in the snow?  What other founders stopped in their initial deliberations to have a prayer meeting?  What other nation has “…endowed by their Creator” written in its charter, or “In God we trust” stamped on its currency, or has Freedom of religion as the first of its bill of rights?

     America has been given exceptional resources.  Upon arrival in the new land, the Pilgrims were so impressed with the trees, rivers, and natural resources that one observer from the Mayflower described it as “…a goodly land, wooded to the brink of the sea.”  Our country has such an abundance of trees that we’ve built frame houses, erected telephone poles, and laid railroad ties all across the land and still have plenty of timber leftover.  Our abundance of coal has powered turbines for years, thereby providing inexpensive electricity nationwide.  Recently enough oil and natural gas have been discovered to enable our nation to become energy independent.

     Drive across the Midwest and marvel at the amber waves of grain as well as beans and corn.  Visit California and Florida, and you can see acres and acres of fruits and vegetables being harvested that will soon stock our supermarkets with a plethora of choices.  It has been estimated that America has 6% of the world’s population and 50% of the world’s wealth.  Admittedly, that’s a huge responsibility, but since every good gift comes from God, shouldn’t we be extremely thankful?

     America is blessed with exceptional beauty.  This country contains some of the most spectacular scenery on earth.  Have you ever visited Niagara Falls, Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Teton Mountains, Pike’s Peak, Cape Cod, the Smoky Mountains, the horse farms in the Kentucky Bluegrass region?  If so, you’ve seen some of the most beautiful places in the world.  Our forefathers sang “America the Beautiful” for a reason.

     Americans enjoy exceptional freedom.  Our founders established a Constitutional Republic, which restricted the power of government and assured individual liberty.  We should be eager to express thanks for the freedom of worship, freedom of travel, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech that is unparalleled in the history of mankind.

     Our nation has an exceptional history of benevolence.  When a natural disaster creates a crisis in other areas of the world, America has traditionally responded quicker and more generously than any other country.  Whether it’s a tsunami in Indonesia, an earthquake in Haiti, a refugee crises in Africa, or rebuilding Europe following World War II, the United States of America has led the way with financial resources and volunteer assistance.  Has our country been selfish and greedy at times?  Yes.  But the USA leads the way in providing benevolent help around the world.

     The United States has an exceptional spiritual base.  Though the percentage of people who believe in God and attend church regularly is declining, there will still be a higher percentage of people who worship God next Sunday morning in America than most nations in the world.  The Bible is still the best-selling book every year.  Christian radio and television stations based in America broadcast the gospel around the world every day.

     People of every tribe, tongue, and nation are loved equally by God, but as anyone who has ever visited a third world country knows, not all nations are equal.  That doesn’t make us superior to anyone, but it should make us more grateful than everyone.  To be patriotic on July 4th is simply to thank God for the abundant blessings He has poured out on this land.  It is to express appreciation for those who have sacrificed so much to secure our unprecedented freedom.  It is to join with our forefathers in pledging our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to ensure future generations will have the same privileges we have had.  Not to do so is to be blind to God’s goodness and to be guilty of gross ingratitude.

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praises to your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1-2).

 

Bob Russell is retired minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.

 

 




One Response to “Sunday, July 4, 2021 – A Time to Give Thanks for America”

  1. Evon says:

    I am grateful for living in this country. I pray for the President and his canine; that we will have a peaceful and blessed life. N Jesus ‘ name.



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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4