There is a natural belief among children and teens that there is a glorious time in life when they will not have to listen to anyone and they can do whatever they want. That day never comes. In fact, it never even comes for the most powerful person in the USA – the President of the United States.
While we may be tempted to think that it must be nice to be a President and be able to do anything we want, just consider some of the restrictions on their life.
- They can’t open windows;
- They can no longer drive;
- They are not allowed to attend their children’s events at school;
- Spontaneity and spur-of-the-moment changes of plans are not allowed;
- Even though they have personal chefs, they have to pay for their own groceries;
- They cannot keep gifted designer clothing. Once it has been worn, it must be donated;
- They can no longer use commercial airlines;
- And, upon entering the Presidency, one of their first duties is to plan their own funeral.
Once they leave office, the requirements and restrictions continue.
- They must establish a Presidential library which contains all that the President ever wrote while in office – good or bad;
- All of their email and electronic communications are monitored for the rest of their lives;
- They still are not allowed to drive. Lyndon B. Johnson was the last President to drive himself on public roads. Much to the consternation of his security detail, Pres. Reagan used to drive on his ranch as does Pres. Bush today.
- And, they still cannot go anywhere they want or do anything they want. All plans and itineraries must be submitted in advance to allow the Secret Service time to plan.*
There are many more restrictions placed on their lives that the average person would find incredibly intrusive and insulting for a grownup to endure. Yet, they’ve surrendered these things to shoulder the great responsibility of being the leader of the free world.
Christians understand that saving grace has given them boundless liberty and freedom. However, this liberty cannot be exercised liberally, nor can freedom be exercised freely. Galatians 5:13 says, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
Paul discussed the grave responsibility that comes with such freedom and liberty in 1 Corinthians 8. He said, “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak… (13) Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” (1 Corinthians 8:9, 13)
Our freedom and liberty in Christ places great responsibility on our shoulders. We hold the heavenly governmental post of Ambassador and our office must be conducted with gravity and servitude. This is an office we hold until the day we die. The requirements and restrictions never expire.
While I don’t know if former presidents believe that the sacrifice was worth it, Christians KNOW that sacrifice is well worth it and will be rewarded in the end!