When Patrick Henry famously uttered the words, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” he had already represented his home state of Virginia at the First and Second Continental Congresses. No cush heated seats or air-conditioned SUV chauffeured him to a 5-star hotel, nor did Henry receive a handsome paycheck for his service to our country. Not by a long shot. Whenever congress convened, his was a long journey on horseback to Philadelphia. Whether snow, rain, scorching heat, or subzero temperatures.
Familiar with the hardships of securing liberty, Henry did not balk but rather rolled up his sleeves and inspired others to do the same.
I dare say, the hearts of those who considered freedom a necessity had rallied after Henry’s impassioned speeches.
And yet, biographers have a common complaint against Henry: he put very little on paper! Perhaps his speeches were all on his heart, in his head – impromptu. Nonetheless, if his peers hadn’t recorded Henry’s words, service to our country, and other accomplishments, his legacy might have been buried with him and known only to God. Could it be this revolutionary orator and statesman preferred action to accolades?
What a lesson politicians could learn from such an American!
Throughout history, various men and women have stood and pleaded just causes. Many gave much more, pouring out their blood for our liberty. Our hearts beat with gratitude for their service.
However, to me, no one has ever uttered more life-saving words or served with more compassion, wisdom, and impact than Jesus Christ.
The following essay, adapted from a 1926 sermon by Dr. James A. Francis, usually finds its way into Christmas cards. I believe the prose and truth are too good to unwrap but once a year:
One Solitary Life
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.
By Amre Cortadino (with Dr. James A. Francis as above)
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