Not Mine.

It takes a lifetime to get and a lot of reminders, but I don’t own my life. The SUV I drive? Not mine. The TV I watched last night? Not mine. The checkbook I paid bills from? Not mine, either. The kids I helped raise? The marriage? Not mine.The hobby I claim? The diversion I make time for? The secret place where no one else is invited? Not mine. The faith I claim? The church I attend? The office I spend time in? Nope. Not mine. The country I love? The world I pray for? No. They don’t belong to me, either.
Jeremiah reminds himself as much as anyone else: “I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.”
Sure, I have obligations, even passions for all of the above, but they belong to another. If I don’t own my television, my hobbies, my checkbook, my family, my marriage, or my nation… then, they don’t own me. Freedom.
Property of God.

Price of slavery, Cost of freedom

Slavery has never been more profitable. But, human trafficking, as heinous as it is, isn’t the only end that the means justifies. Sell outs to subjugation go on all the time – bondage and entrapment are gussied up as the next experience to be had –  no matter how many shades of grey cloak it (btw, how can we rail against causing women pain and embrace the same in the name of pleasure? Using others for gratification or anger still leads to subjection.)

Judas gave up freedom for 30 silver coins. Whether he was disillusioned with the progress of the social takeover he’d hope would come with Jesus’ reign, or disappointed at being caught at embezzlement, he sold his freedom. Matthew and others give the details. Try Judas for your next character study. Or maybe not… it may be too familiar.

The cash he accepted equaled the cost of a slave (see Exodus 21) – 30 silver coins. Judas took his final step into slavery with the bribe, then surrendered it under remorse as the exact cost of a graveyard, the perfect final home for slaves.

Jesus planned for a better home for slaves.

For Jesus, these same thirty coins bought our slavery to sin. He cashed it in at the Cross. I am the direct beneficiary to this investment, a thirty coin bribe sought to capture and kill a King became the price to free a slave. Me.

Two simple applications: To the enslaved (yes, I know who I am – you do, too), your purchase has been proffered and accepted. The document is filed waiting to be claimed. To the set-free-ones, tell someone where freedom waits.

Rick the Purchased

Grace in a Head-butt

I come from the school of “gentle evangelism.” Don’t confront… at least too strongly. Listen and talk from a compassionate position. Always remember: the Holy Spirit is a gentleman, right? I wonder if you asked Paul this. Didn’t he get knocked off his feet? Or was it his horse… I forget.

When I shared the Good News with a room full of addicts and two nuns, I was gentle as was the rest of our team who were invited to have desert with them at their halfway house. When I visited a friend in the hospital because of knife wounds from a boyfriend, I was firm… You need Jesus as your Lord and Protector, and you need to distance yourself from your boyfriend!

Which brings up a question. What do we refuse to embrace in others? God embraces all we are in each of us. A pastor friend told me he loves us “warts and all.” Sometimes, I wish all he saw was a little wart. And sometimes, I wish all we had to embrace in others was a blemish or two.

Jude verse 23 says the Good News we share will at times be a “snatching from the fires of hell” itself. A “snatching” from imminent incineration, but gently… well, this seems a contradiction.

A friend of mine just returned to a life of drugs and left his wife and walked away from his church and walk as a disciple. How do I respond? Do I tell him that, like a “patio bug light,” he’s flying into the zap? Do I show grace in a “welcome home” or do I head-butt him?

I’m really leaning toward a head-butt.

As a gentleman