Putting It All on the Line

Putting It All on the Line

Our Founders put it all on the line. Will we?

2024 | Week of July 1 | Radio Transcript #1573

One by one, the men come forward. The quill is handed from one to another, as the sweat drips from their faces in the sweltering heat of that July day in Philadelphia.  They take the quill, dip it in the ink.  Before signing, they pause to read again the last line of the document, “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.”

Taking a deep breath, they each sign their name, all 56 of them.  They know exactly what they are doing and exactly what they are pledging to one another.  It’s literally all on the line.  What they don’t know is the outcome.  Will the pledge require their lives, their fortunes, and their honor?

Some 248 years later, we know the outcome. They fought long and hard against what was then the world’s finest army and navy.  In the end they won and established America’s independence.  Blood was shed. Lives were lost. Years with families were sacrificed. But from the signers’ perspective, the cost was not too high because they were looking not at just their own lives and their own families. They were looking with uncanny clarity down the corridors of time and seeing generations of free people living in an independent nation.

Such courage, clarity, and future orientation are rare. Most of us tend to play it safe when we are faced with risk. Most of us don’t have a laser-beam focus; we get easily distracted.  Most of us don’t look too far beyond tomorrow; we have trouble seeing anything past us, our immediate family and the next day.

However, those who have the courage, clarity and future orientation change the world. 1776 attests to that truth. Not only was the United States of America born, but ultimately the entire world was changed as America became the dominant country on the world’s scene.  Had the founders played it safe, had fuzzy vision and not cared about the future, the world today would have been very different.

This week we pause to celebrate and commemorate the birthday of America, as well we should. But as you prepare to join with family and friends to enjoy the liberty we have, I would like to challenge you to do a couple of things.

First, take a few minutes to have someone read the entire Declaration of Independence, out loud. It will take about 10 minutes—and yes, there will be parts that will be difficult to understand. But in part, it is in the very reading of it that we are passing down to the next generation its value.  Don’t assume everyone has actually read it.  You’ll be surprised how few have actually read anything other than the opening and the closing.

Choose a few of the “usurpations” and abuses enumerated in the Declaration and briefly explain and discuss them.  Point out how our Constitution—especially the Bill of Rights—addresses many of these grievances.  Mention that the people who signed it were prepared to give their all for all of us.

Then stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing at least the first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and finish with prayer, thanking God for the privilege of living in America, for the opportunities we have, the wealth we enjoy—and for those who have paid the price for our freedom throughout our history.

By taking these few but purposeful actions, you are making sure those in your sphere of influence know why we celebrate this day.  You are preparing them to pass it on to those who come after them.  What we don’t know about, we don’t appreciate—and we certainly don’t pass down.  Tell the story and thank God for the story.

As you consider your July 4th celebration this year, ask yourself about your own courage, clarity, and future orientation?  What are you willing to do to maintain liberty for those coming after you?  Are you willing, in reliance on God, to sign your name to something that could be your death warrant, while you pledge to the other signers and to all posterity your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor?

We’ve enjoyed for 248 years what these men gave us. I believe the time is coming when some of us will be asked to roll up our sleeves, grab a pen, and sign our names, while pledging our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor, in order to secure liberty for the next 248 years.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you that God, through the Prophet Hosea, said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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