Slavery: Any Volunteers?

 

Some stayed on the beach.
Some went in the boat.
Some hang out in the Kingdom.
Some serve the King.
Some enjoy so-called freedom.
Some are truly free.

 

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? . . . In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples (Luke 14:28, 33).

In Western culture, the owner, contractor, and architect sit down to estimate the cost of a building before they shovel even that first scoop of dirt. If the owner can’t afford it, the architect makes modifications or they wait for more money. Few things are sadder than a half-finished, overgrown skeleton of a building. It means someone failed . . . and lots of people didn’t get paid.

The undertaking of following Jesus whole-heartedly is of far greater significance than a new house or office building. Following Him means becoming His slave.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus . . . (Rom. 1:1 NIV)
I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ . . . (Rom. 1:1 MSG)
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus . . . (Rom 1:1 NASB)

You’ve probably heard about the voluntary slavery of Bible times. If an indentured servant decided he didn’t want to leave at the end of his term, the owner would pierce his ear (basically). It’s in Deuteronomy 15, if you want to read about it.

What does it cost to become the permanent, forever-after slave of Jesus Christ? Can you just get your ear pierced and be done? I got my ears pierced when I was a kid and again when I was eighteen. Believe me, that’s not what my piercings mean.

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions . . .” (Matthew 19:21)

We walk from so-called freedom into this servitude. Imagine first selling absolutely everything you own—down to your spare toothbrush and your warmest winter coat, your e-mail accounts and your 401k. Then you step in front of the King (we are, after all, becoming servants of THE King), and you lay every penny that you made on the floor in front of His throne. On top of that stack of money, you lay your skills and talents, your degrees and certificates, your reputation, your parenting philosophies, even your marriage. Scary? My hands shake even typing it.

These actions say, “I absolutely and completely trust you, my King and Lord, to supply everything I need and to direct every action I take.” You leave off worrying about whether or not you’ll need that big winter coat tomorrow because you know He’ll have the perfect overcoat ready for you tomorrow morning since He knows exactly what the weather will be. You stop worrying about your reputation because you bear His Name (synonymous with His reputation), and it is without equal. You no longer rely on your résumé because He already knows exactly what assignments fit you and will satisfy you. Thus, you finally find peace because you trust Him.  It seems backwards–unlike what we expect.  It’s that uncommon sense again.

In not a fan, Kyle Idleman puts it like this, “When you finally surrender all that you have and all that you are you will discover the strangest thing. It’s only by becoming a slave to Jesus that we ever truly find freedom” (153).

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Slavery: Any Volunteers?

  1. Those first two lines, about staying on the shore or going in the boat, is from Hugh Halter’s _Flesh_. Also, I probably should have mentioned that I definitely haven’t arrived with regard to laying everything down in front of Him.

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  2. I never realized why it is so hard to part with stuff until reading this post. When you think about it everything we own we have manipulated and touched and therefore feel as though it is apart of ourselves, that it is a part of our childhood or even our identity, because of the interaction or the memories that flow from our attachment to certain objects.But, it’s not true, and it should not be true if we follow and profess Christ as Savior, King and Lord of our lives than our identity is to be found in Him. I am having a hard time letting some things go, but I wonder if by keeping these things am I saying to God, “They are better than You” “I want them, more than You, I can’t live without them, my memories mean so much to me.” Seriously though, how silly will that sound when we stand before Almighty Father and say “I um…had these um, toys, plastic things and well they meant a lot to me at the time but now they have melted and have returned to dust, I just couldn’t part with them.” No wonder Jesus said “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24 and it is also why Paul points out in Romans 6:9-11 That when we accept Jesus as Lord we have to die to self to be filled with His spirit. The life we live as Christians is not ours,it is Gods, we become slaves of Righteousness. While I am writing this I am trying to figure out the best and most productive way to sort my belongings, give and sell.

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