Christian Philosophy Lite: Gaining citizenship in a glorious land
By Raymond Smith
This Fourth of July, I watched a CNN production of swearing-in ceremonies across America. There were testimonies from the new citizens, hugging, tears and the proud waving of citizenship certificates. I had the opportunity to observe one of these in Tucson, Ariz., several years ago. It was an exciting experience as people from the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Vietnam, China and a host of other countries became U.S. citizens.
While people are coming to this land to find freedom and opportunity, there is another land people would do well to consider - a land of peace, happiness and fulfillment. Many had endured hardship and oppression before they learned that there is a better place and that the citizenship of that country is open to all who apply.
The King of that country has said, "He who comes to me, I will in no wise cast out." Some have to think about it for a long time before the truth dawns upon them, others quickly take advantage of the opportunity and are immediately accepted into that Kingdom. Some, like the illegals we hear about in our country, are trying to break in the wrong way by doing good works or pronouncing mystical sayings or by ritualism. All this in spite of the rules laid down by the King of that country who said, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." In coming to this Kingdom, there is a pledge of allegiance that simply says, I accept your gift of salvation and pledge my lifelong devotion. America says, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." In Christ is freedom indeed, and no one can deport you.
When an immigrant gains citizenship, he or she is expected to learn the language. In God's kingdom that language is the language of love. Many new American citizens go on to success because they have achieved their dream of citizenship, and they keep that dream alive as they remember their former life. Throughout their lifetime, they show their appreciation by living productive lives.
Likewise, many Christians are so appreciative of what the Lord has done for them that they become productive in His work. Some become pastors, evangelists, lay leaders or benevolent businessmen. Some become involved in ministryto the deaf, disabled, aged and blind. Others find their ministry in dealing with the homeless, victims of drug and alcohol abuse, prisoners, children and even political action groups. Matthew 5:16 says that our good works glorify our Father who is in heaven.
America, as great as it is, is still subject to problems and decline. It is said that the best government is that of a benevolent king. God's kingdom is ruled by such a King who is the author of peace, justice and morality. Who wouldn't want to get to that country? A passport will not do, you must become a citizen. Have you considered immigrating to that kingdom?
Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and President of Strong Families of Victoria.