Gratitude with Perspective: Where

I am grateful for where, when and to whom I was born. This gratitude is steeped in the realization that each of these aspects of my story are gifts that have afforded me certain advantages that those born in other places, at other times and to other families have not always enjoyed. But – and this is important – none of these three aspects of my heritage are perfect. This perspective is necessary to recognize the challenges, overcome them, and be the healthiest person I can be physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. A healthy me can then help to make the world a better place for all regardless of where, when or to whom they are born.

In today’s blog, we focus on “Where”. Being born in the United States of America is a fact for which I am grateful. Undoubtedly, the freedom with which I have been able to explore faith, vocation, family, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness is a gift beyond measure. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, but I live in a country that does not make that compulsory. I was able to choose my work and be successful without interference. My wife and I raised our children within the structures of the church and the public school system, and together we raised four well- functioning humans. I was allowed to prosper and enjoy the fruits of that prosperity. This was a great place to be born.


I do not worship the United States of America. Its flaws are apparent to me. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I recognize that my citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and consequently two things happen. First, my perspective becomes more global. My allegiance to a place falls below my allegiance to my fellow human beings, wherever they reside. My desire for the USA to be all it can be falls below my desire to see the Kingdom of God expand across the earth.

Perspective causes us to look at all gifts with a sense of realism. The American Dream might seem ideal, but perspective shows us that it is not all it’s cracked up to be. Certainly, being a land of opportunity is a good thing. Consequently, our land is full of people who, almost without exclusion, came from somewhere else in their heritage. But the American Dream takes on a life of its own and becomes a race toward more and more prosperity. Then, we begin to desire that prosperity just for ourselves and start talking about building walls so no one else will be able to have the same opportunity. And we become less generous in proportion to our wealth. These are the opposite effects that should result.

Many harken back to the roots of this great nation as having been founded with Christian principles, and there is certainly truth contained within that. Perspective, though, recognizes that this country was also founded on theft & genocide, and our treatment of people throughout our history is checkered at best, right up to today. Freedom of religion, Christian or otherwise, is important to everyone, Christian or otherwise. Liberty to pursue happiness is important for everyone, whether or not it makes me happy.

So what? I implore you to be grateful for where you were born. I implore you to seek the perspective to recognize the good, the bad, and the ugly, embrace all of it, and become a better global citizen because of it. And, if you are not yet a citizen of heaven, I encourage you to exercise your freedom to pursue that eternity altering opportunity.

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