God Given Freedoms

By Bobbie Jo King on 4-16-2024

Hello fellow sojourners. I certainly pray you had a nice Easter reflecting on what Jesus did for us on the cross. He told us in John, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus did that and so much more, but so did God the Father. The Father, too, had to bear the pain and anguish of His Son on the cross. As a parent, I cannot imagine the absolute devastation of watching my child go through what Jesus endured. Unfathomable.

Now that Jesus was crucified and days later resurrected, He gives us many gifts, one of which is the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39). We read in 2 Cor 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Liberty is freedom. In Christ we have truth; truth sets us free.

Whether you call them Natural Rights or God-given Rights, they do not come from any level of government. As such, governments cannot take them away. I preface all this to tell you a story about Captain Levi Preston from the Revolutionary War. A Dartmouth student, Mellen Chamberlain, was researching the war and interviewed Captain Preston. Captain Preston was at the battle of Lexington and Concord. Mellen wanted to know why Captain Preston decided to get involved and go to Lexington/Concord.

Through our 13 years of school, we heard about the Stamp Act, tea tax, Boston Tea Party and the oppression of King George as reasons for the war. Captain Preston was asked about each of these. While accounts vary, a general consensus of what he said is:

Chamberlain: “Captain Preston, why did you decide to leave your farm and fight at Concord? Were you upset with the Stamp Act?”

Preston: “Never bought one of them. I was told the Governor locked them in the Armory.”

Chamberlain: “Were you upset with the tea tax?”

Preston: “Never drank the stuff. I heard some of it was thrown in the harbor.”

Chamberlain: “Had you read the writings of Harrington, Sidney or Locke about principles of liberty?”

Preston: “Never heard of any of those fellows. We read the Bible, the Catechism and the Almanac.”

Chamberlain: Were you revolting against the oppression of King George III?”

Preston: “Never felt a wit of it. I just farmed my land.”

Chamberlain was a little confused by this point. Everything he had learned of why we fought the Revolutionary War didn’t seem to be correct. So Chamberlain asked why Captain Levi Preston decided to leave his farm and go to war against the British.

Preston: “We had always governed ourselves. We always intended to govern ourselves and them British intended that we shouldn’t.”

There you have it: Freedom. In other words, Captain Preston lived his life minding his own business, until someone came along and started taking away his right to that life.

For decades after the Pilgrims settled in Plymouth, they lived free. Several generations continued to govern themselves and take full advantage of their God-given rights. They didn’t need government to tell them what to do or not do. Regular, everyday people like you and me, we don’t usually get caught up in the craziness of high-level politics. We don’t always buy stamps, drink tea, read liberty-minded authors or feel the oppressive government on our backs; but we do govern ourselves and live within our God-given freedoms.

Have enough of our freedoms been eroded by this government to make you take up figurative arms for interfering with our way of life? What will be your Levi Preston story decades from now if you are interviewed by a young Mellen Chamberlain?