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The secret of independence E-mail
Opinion
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 09:45

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MY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron



Our nation just commemorated Independence Day, commemorating the time our founding fathers declared independence from England. Their bold document meant they no longer relied on the king and the country overseas.  

Independence once meant freedom from government control or imposition. Now we’ve gotten accustomed to the benefits, aid, relief efforts, protections - and the jurisdictions associated with government - and feel we can’t survive without them. An economist this week wrote that, though politicians promise to cut “government spending,” fifty percent of the money spent in Kansas is derived from federal, state or local payroll, Social Security, subsidies, etc. as opposed to private sector income. The debt our government is incurring, currently in the trillions, belongs to each of us as taxpayers and is a result of this spending. 

As our personal debt continues to increase, we as individuals and families are trading our economic freedom for a standard of living beyond our reach. This week someone said that those of us who call ourselves Christians should be more concerned about our own debt than the national debt. 

Just a generation back, there were self-sufficient people living in harsh times and yet thriving. We attended a funeral this week of a relative, born in 1929 and who in her words jokingly remarked, “personally ushered in both the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.” Her father died when she was a child, and when she turned fourteen she quit school and went to work to help the family. After things stabilized she graduated from high school, married her sweetheart and had their baby – but a week later her husband died.  

Through hardship and loss, Mary maintained a cheerful attitude, continued to work hard and figure things out. She more than persevered – she flourished. She raised a wonderful daughter, was instrumental in the lives of her two grandchildren, and delighted in her new great-grandbaby. 

Hundreds of people attended the service and spoke of Mary’s smile, her can-do spirit and her volunteering as a “Piece Maker” who donated handmade quilts for each baby dedicated in the church. She was at every funeral dinner, smiling and working in the small “three-butt” kitchen, doing her part to ease the transition of grieving families. Her favorite saying was, “Use it up, wear it out; make it do, or do without.” 

The apostle Paul wrote centuries ago, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12). His secret was that he learned the difference in needs, wants, and desires. “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).  

In the era of Paul and the early Christians, ironically some of them were slaves or prisoners. Yet it was impossible to take away from them their joy or their faith. Peter in Acts 3 and 4 told the crippled man, “Silver and gold have I none” but gave him the gift of wholeness. When Peter and John were threatened by the religious leaders they were steadfast. They owned nothing that their persecutors could take away, but had all that mattered. 

May we learn to be content with what we have, not bound by a need for more gimmicks or gadgets. May we find the secret that independence is Not Being Dependent.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This is a reprint from July 15, 2010.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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