Summary: This is part one of my series focused on slavery and how we should become slaves for Christ. this series was inspired by a book I read by Michael card titled "A Better Freedom." In part one I examine slavery in general and how Christ became a slave to sva
A Slave For Christ Part 1
(Inspired by the book: “A Better Freedom” by Michael Card)
As we begin this new year, I want to take you back to a very difficult time in American history – the time of slavery. In order for me to get us to the point of understanding where we need to be in our relationship with Christ, we must discuss and come to grips with the idea of slavery. Although some of the information I will share in this series might make us a little uncomfortable, just keep in mind that in the end we should all be slaves of Christ in the truest sense of the word. With that said, come with me as we examine in this series what it means to be a slave for Christ.
A couple of months ago my brother Barry sent me the book, “A Better Freedom – Finding Life as Slaves of Christ” by Michael Card. Mr. Card received inspiration for the book when he began attending an African American Church and was “struck by how the congregation worshipped Jesus as Master.” I was so inspired by the book that I want to share some of the thoughts and lesson learned that I received from the book, especially as it related to slavery during the Old and New Testament times. When I am quoting something directly from the book I will make sure that is noted, but just know, most of what you hear in this series was inspired by the book and if you want to full story, please go and purchase the book and you will be blessed. So let’s begin with the whole notion of slavery.
I. Being Owned By Someone Else
I want to say this up front because anytime we say the word slavery or use the term in a setting where there are both black and white individuals in attendance people get nervous. We have all seen movies portraying what slavery was like in America. If you’re African American, chances are great that somewhere in your family history, there were slaves. If you’re white, chances are great that your ancestors either owned slaves or knew of people who owned slaves. What we often focus on is how blacks were owned and treated by whites. However, there were situations where wealthy black families also own black slaves and they did not treat them much better than their white counter-parts. Because our reference point for slavery is the slavery as represented by American history, the very thought of being a slave both repels and disgusts most people. We do not want to be associated with it in any shape, form or fashion. While we explore this in context to our relationship with Christ, there will be some historical references to what took place in America. In this series I ask that you keep in mind that we are “supposed” to be slaves of Christ and if we do not understand what it means to be a slave, we cannot understand what it means to be a slave for Christ. So the first thing I want to do in this message is put us in the seat (or shoes) of a slave. I have heard that one cannot understand another man’s life unless you walk a mile in that man’s shoes. Today I want us to attempt to walk a mile in the shoes of a slave. You might get uncomfortable with some of the descriptions, but again, remember to focus on the fact that you are a slave by choice for Christ. As a slave for Christ we must understand what we have signed on for so we will stop acting like freed men and start acting like a slave. So let me introduce to you Paul, an African American slave, not by choice. I will tell this from his view point in first person.
A. Paul life before slavery: I was born to a wonderful family that loved me. I would spend my days learning what it meant to be a man within my community. I attended school; learned our history; and was being groomed to step into the responsibilities of manhood when I was suddenly taken from my family. When I was free I could make my decision; come and go as I pleased (with permission) and I could basically do what I wanted to do. There were few restrictions set on me except those that were acceptable in our community. There were no restrictions upon me that were not upon others within our community. I had the same rights and privileges as every other member of our society and we lived in peace. Imagine my horror when I was kidnapped; put in chains; and placed on a ship to be carried to another world. While I was on the ship we were shackled and stored very close together. We were kept in filthy conditions – conditions that even my animal’s at home did not experience. Many of the captives died during the trip and their bodies were cast over the side. I was able to make the journey and then my world turned around again.