John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Long ago a man embarked on a journey home. It required him to be on a ship for the major part of the journey. This was still during the time when slavery was common and there were slaves serving on the ship. Over the course of the voyage the man struck up a friendship with one of the slaves. As the days went by they enjoyed the times together more and more.
When they arrived in port the captain came to the slave and informed him to get his belongings because he had been purchased. When the slave discovered that he had been sold to the passenger who had become his friend he was outraged. The slave confronted his new owner and asked, “I thought we were friends! But now you have purchased me to make me your slave – to serve you! How could you do this to me?”
The man looked at the slave and said, “You misunderstand. I didn’t purchase you to make you my slave. I purchased you to set you free!” Upon hearing this, the slave exclaimed, “I will serve you all the days of my life!”
I heard this story many years ago and never cease to be moved by it – maybe because I relate so to the slave. The details of my life are obviously very different from his, but I remember the struggles I was going through 50+ years ago – the loneliness, lack of direction, the inferiority complex. I always seemed to be struggling with feeling un-chosen, left out or left behind. I didn’t realize it but I was a slave.
Only, I didn’t have a voyage to get to know someone who would surprise me with freedom. For me it was totally unexpected and what He did was so much more than just physical freedom. In my stunning encounter with Jesus (October 11, 1968), my ‘Matterhorn of doubt’ regarding God was leveled! He made me someone entirely new!!!! I am still amazed at how utterly transformed my life was in a single moment. I so understand the slave saying he will serve his new master for the rest of his life. Even now I am overcome with emotion and gratitude thinking of what my “new owner” did for me 52 years ago – and Jesus has never stopped doing it!!! He overwhelms me with love!
I am so grateful that I get to serve Him the rest of my life – only it is so much more than that: He enables us to love Him in return. We become friends and family – in relationship with Him every day of our lives. The more we realize the incredible wonder of what He has done for us, the more we want to love Him. That is what makes the Christmas season so special to me. God so wanted us that He gave us Jesus, so that we might become His – forever!