An item caught my eye Friday (12/5/2008) on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s front page. It was an article on Iraqis and Afghans who have recently moved to the United States. While they have faced some hardship here, they seem to love their adopted country. (For all our faults — and perhaps because of some of them — we are still a country that many dream of coming to.)
But what stood out to me was one particular passage concerning Haider Sakhizada, who came from Afghanistan. He is here with the help of Mr. Eddie Boyer, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was in Afghanistan working for the National Guard. Sakhizada worked as a translator for Boyer and had seen two of his friends killed for doing the same sort of work on behalf of American troops. Now in the U.S. and seeking work and educational opportunities (he is currently working in a maintenance job and is soon to attend Jefferson Community College), Sakhizada has received many gracious donations from neighbors and such who want to help him start his new life on the best foot possible. it was the couple of paragraphs after the article listed some of the things that were given to Sakhizada that grabbed my attention:
Sakhizada graciously accepted the gestures but said he wanted to accomplish his dreams on his own.
“If someone could show me opportunities, I can go after them.” he said. “I don’t want free stuff.”
I admire that. Frankly, I think it is a rare sentiment in America these days — at the very least, one that is growing rarer. As far as I am concerned, the growth of the sentiment is predicted in prophecy, as Paul says that the end times will be full of “lovers of themselves”, “lovers of money”, and those who are “unthankful” (2 Timothy 3:1-2). Many no longer want a government or society that merely protects their access to opportunities, their right to pursue happiness. They’re willing to have it all to be given to them. They feel they have a right to more than the opportunity to pursue happiness. They feel they have a right to happiness, period.
That’s a whole different ballgame, folks, and I would have cause to hold in suspicion anyone who promises such a “right”.
One Biblical passage that came to mind when I read of Mr. Sakhizada was the one concerning David, who wanted to offer a sacrifice to God due to a plague that was running rampant in Israel.
Then David said to Ornan, “Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the LORD. You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”
But Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.”
Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.”
— 1 Chronicles 21:22-24
I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing. Every time I read David’s words they inspire me. And I thank Mr. Sakhizada for bringing them to mind.