Precious Citizenship

Posted: June 30, 2011 in Discipleship, Freedom

In his 2010 memoir, A Journey: My Political Life, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair included the following story:

“A friend of mine whose parents were immigrants, Jews from Europe who came to America in search of safety, told me this story. His parents lived and worked in New York. They were not well off. His father died when he was young. His mother lived on, and in time my friend succeeded and became wealthy. He often used to offer his mother the chance to travel outside America. She never did.

“When eventually she died, they went back to recover the safety box where she kept her jewelry. They found there another box. There was no key. So they had to drill it open. They wondered what precious jewel must be in it. They lifted the lid. There was wrapping and more wrapping and finally an envelope. Intrigued, they opened it. In the envelope were her U.S. citizenship papers. Nothing more. That was the jewel, more precious to her than any other possession. That was what she treasured most.”

Tomorrow our nation will mark its 235th anniversary of our nation’s beginning. Though all Americans do not agree politically or theologically, we live in country where our founders prized freedoms. Two great documents – the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution – have provided guidance for our nation and protection of our freedoms. As citizens of the United States, we should know the contents of these documents. Many, not all, of the signers of these documents were Christ-followers. The language certainly points to affirming our dependence on God, for which I am grateful.

While we should treasure our citizenship of the United States, as believers we have a citizenship that we should prize above all. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21, ESV).

Long ago men sacrificed their blood so that we might prize our U.S. citizenship. As precious as their gift to us is, it pales in comparison to the sacrifice of Christ’s blood on Calvary’s cross. Jesus provided the ultimate precious citizenship – a “forever relationship” with God through Christ. I urge you along with Paul with this verse, “Therefore, my brothers [and sisters], whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord” (Philippians 4:1, ESV).

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