In October of 1781, General Cornwallis marched his British troops into Yorktown. The patriots to the south had wreaked havoc on his redcoat army, and he was hoping to rendezvous with the British Navy on Chesapeake Bay.
American and French troops, however, anticipating Cornwallis’s plan, pounded them with cannon fire, while the French fleet cut off escape by sea. The British found themselves trapped.
Thomas Nelson, then governor of Virginia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was fighting with the patriots firing the cannons in Yorktown. Gathering the men, he pointed to a beautiful brick home. “That is my home,” he explained. “It is the best one in town. And, because of that, Lord Cornwallis has almost certainly set up the British headquarters inside.”
And he told the American artillerymen to open fire on his own house.
They did. As the story goes, the very first cannonball shot at Mr. Nelson’s house sailed right through the large dining room window and landed on the table where several British officers were eating.
It is one thing for a man to talk about freedom. It is quite another to destroy his own home to help make that freedom a reality. Nelson understood, however, that to hold on to his current life would mean forfeiting the life he was so desperately seeking. A life of true freedom would cost him the stuff of his present life.
It was a small price to pay.
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. But that freedom comes at a price.
To follow Jesus demands we give up all that we have.
It is a small price to pay.