What if They Hadn’t Fulfilled Their Missions?

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What if the American Founding generation hadn’t fulfilled their missions? What if they had chosen comfort over sacrifice? What if they hadn’t educated themselves? What if they hadn’t understood natural laws and principles? What if they hadn’t been willing to live their beliefs at any cost?

At this time of year, it’s important to take a moment and reflect on all we owe to past generations–to those who fulfilled THEIR life missions and gave us the freedom we enjoy today! More importantly, what are we doing to prepare ourselves to perpetuate the freedom we’ve been given to future generations?

If we are grateful for what they’ve done for us, let’s do the same for our posterity!

Full Transcript

Happy 4th of July! I want to tell you a story that really changed my life many years ago that has to do with the 4th of July. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about a couple named Abraham and Sarah Clark, not from the Bible, but from the Revolutionary period. They’re an incredible couple and what they did was mission driven and very amazing!

They were married in 1748 and they had 10 children. Sarah was known to be very organized, very hardworking, very industrious and because she was, that allowed Abraham to be involved politically for decades. He could give service inside his home and outside of his home because of how hard Sarah worked to support him in that. He was a man of prayer. He was friends with Dr. Witherspoon and they were both reputed to always act on Christian principles and have a deep sense of their responsibility to God. He was known as the poor man’s counselor. He had studied law on his own, probably never passed the bar, but people would often ask for his legal advice and he would never allow them to pay him. He would take them in and listen to their situation and give them really good counsel and not ask for payment. So that made him very popular among the poor.

He was probably, of all the men in the early Continental Congress, the one that was most like a typical citizen. He wouldn’t wear a wig, he didn’t like elitism and pretense and he acted like an ordinary man when he was acting in political positions.

He was representing New Jersey when the Continental Congress came together and decided to write the Declaration of Independence. He was present in those meetings and supportive of independence. Once the declaration was written and they signed it, he signed his name to it. Remember, at the end of the Declaration of Independence it says they pledge their lives and their sacred honor to each other for this document. These men took that very seriously. They knew that because they had signed it, that the British would target them specifically. They knew the British would try to kill or harm or injure them specifically because they were the ones who were the leaders in America, who had written this document and participated in the war.

He wrote this letter to his friend and he said, “You’ve probably seen the Declaration of Independence that came out a few days ago. A few weeks will probably determine our fate — perfect freedom or absolute slavery. Our fates are in the hands of an Almighty God to whom I can with pleasure confide my own. He can save us or destroy us. His counsels are fixed and cannot be disappointed and all His designs will be accomplished.”

Here was a man of perfect faith.  A man who had a great relationship with God and tried to be obedient to Him. Who lived his life in line with true principles. Who had an amazing self education, lived those laws of life mission and had done life mission for decades at this point. Had served publicly, served the poor and served in political capacities — usually not being paid for that.

Then the war began.  He had ten children, including several  sons. One of them was an officer and another one was a privateer in the army. Well, of course the British knew who Abraham Clark was. They quickly pinpointed his sons. They capture them and make them prisoners on the British ship “Jersey.” They wrote to Abraham and Sarah Clark and they told them,

“We have your sons and we’re going to starve them to death, until you take back your signature and join the side of the British in the war.”

Now, we’re moms and so we know that we would rather have them just take our life than to torture or kill our children. Of course, that’s exactly how Abraham and Sarah felt. They wrote back and Abraham said, “Just take me in place of my sons. You can make me a prisoner, torture me, do whatever you want with me.” They responded, “No, we have your sons. We’re going to starve them to death in the ship.”

So Abraham and Sarah come back together, council together, pray together and they know that they can’t abandon their country. That they can’t abandon their principles. That they can’t abandon what they know to be true and they can’t do major harm to the effort of freedom by changing sides, by recanting their signature. So he has to write back and tell them that no, he would not take his signature back and no, he would not join the side of the British. 

He knows what that means. But Abraham was even more stalwart than that. Abraham didn’t believe that any person should use their political position to take advantage — to take privileges for themselves or for their family. So, he didn”t even tell the other congressmen that this is happening.

Finally, the other Congressmen become aware of what is happening and they’re able to intervene. Eventually, they made a trade of officers. Yet, one of his sons, “…was confined to a dungeon and the only food given him was that which was pressed through a keyhole of the cell. His health suffered tremendously and he died young.” He didn’t die in the war but he died young after the war.

This couple represent to me absolutely mission driven lives. They represent the best that we should strive to be. They weren’t perfect but they were committed to truth, they were committed to freedom and to the cause.

This week we have the opportunity to go back to our roots. There are many, many men and women who were truly and completely mission driven at the time of America’s founding. They were public servants and they put the needs of their nation and their communities above their own. They were true patriots and more than that they were committed to what was going to create the greater good. They didn’t put their own desires above the greater good.

I really think that in today’s world with our iPhones and our quick access to information and our wealth, it’s so easy for us to make it all about us. It’s so easy to forget what’s most important. So, I challenge you to take the time to read through some of the stories of the founders of America. To share them with your family. To think about the missions that they were on. To think about the incredible blessings and benefits that you enjoy every single day because of the missions that they fulfilled.

Then take that a step further and imagine what legacy you could leave. What sacrifices you could make. How you and your family could build a culture of being mission driven. How you could sacrifice for the greater good. How you could serve outside yourselves and really make a difference and be a little bit like the ten Booms and a little bit like Abraham and Sarah Clark?

The year that I studied these stories in depth changed my outlook on life forever. Their story was a major turning point in recognizing what it is that I’ve been given and what it is I owe to myself, to my family, to the world and especially to God because of what I’ve been given.

Have a wonderful 4th of July. Think about Abraham and Sarah Clark. Share this story with your family and with your friends because it will bless them and inspire them to also be the best that they can be. To also get on that mission path, live those laws of life mission and hear the call that God has for them.