From Helpless Slave to Empowered Page
Is this deliverance?
Picture yourself as a lowly serf boy. You spend your days playing in the mud outside of your hut. While your parents aren’t around you don’t give them much thought as you have food to eat, somewhere to sleep, and you don’t think past tomorrow. Suddenly, one day you are taken to the castle on the top of the hill and told that the master is adopting you as one of his sons. At first you are excited to be living in the grand castle and to be considered one of the master’s sons but as the days go by you begin to ask yourself is the castle really better than the hut. You see while you lived in the hut you were able to spend your day at the hut doing whatever you desired – playing in the mud, sitting and watch the older serfs plow the fields, or simply wandering around with the other serf boys all day. Now in the castle you are supposed to spend hours learning to read and write. Your training does not stop there as you are now expected to help serve the meals to the master of the house, and learning how to play a musical instrument or developing some other talent. As you lie awake in your bed one night you ask yourself this question, “is this deliverance?”
When you awake the next morning there is a special stir to the castle as everyone seems to be excited about something of which you are obviously unaware. Plucking up your courage you ask one of the cooks why everyone is so excited, “Gabriel is coming home today” he replies “his page arrived late last night after you were asleep.”
Risking looking stupid you ask, “Who is Gabriel?”
“Gabriel, why he is one of the masters adopted sons; in fact he used to work in this very kitchen just as you do now.” Shortly thereafter Gabriel indeed arrives at the castle. You spend the morning captivated listening to him share stories of his adventures as a knight in the service of his lord. Following the noonday meal you are startled when the young knight invites you to go riding with him. As your horses head into the forest you are in awe of the fact that this young man a knight has given his time to lowly you.
Traveling down the path you are startled when he directs his attention to you, “the master is worried that you think your training is becoming drudgery to you.”
Startled and surprised it doesn’t take long for the entire story to spill – what is the purpose of the writing classes and the intense scribe who is upset with any misspelled words, and why the hours spent practicing a lute – something by the way which you would like to play but why all of the hours spent practicing, and why must you serve the meals at the table of the master – surely an adopted son should be able to simply sit at the table, and why could you not spend the days as you had previously, simply wandering over the fields.
There is a long pause and then the young knight slowly shakes his head and begins, “I see now why the master asked me to speak with you. You see I used to think as you do know. At first I loved being in the castle and the food oh how I loved the food, but as the months went by I found myself resisting the teaching, the practice and the service. One day the master took me to a jousting tournament and asked me to simply observe the knights and their behavior. The tournament was incredible, I had never seen anything as exciting as the jousting, and the sword fighting made me nervous and excited at the same time. Sitting in the great hall that night I was amazed as these same knights who had fought so hard just a few hours before now eating with grace, playing instruments, and dancing with ease. Leaving the tournament the master asked about what I had observed. I replied that I thought the knights were incredible and I could not wait until I too became a knight. This is what he said to me – ‘Gabriel, the knights are incredible and this is why. Each of them has realized that the training and all they went through as they became a knight was so they could live a freer life than anything they had ever imagined before. You see son the lessons, the practice, the service, all of this may seem like uselessness to you but I am freeing you. One lesson at a time you are closer to being able to stand in the presence of a king one day and give articulate answers for questions he may have. One practice at a time you are being freed to the diligence that you will need to maintain a lifestyle that will enable you to become a powerful knight. One act of service at a time you are being taught that living is not focusing on yourself but rather on those around you. You see Gabriel, I am not restricting you, I am teaching you to live.’”
Lying in your bed that night you think of the events of they day and a smile begins to creep across your face. Yes the cook will wake you at 5am to prepare breakfast, and then you will spend the entire morning reading and copying for the old grumpy scribe, later you know that your day will be consumed with lessons in behavior and playing your lute but now you know the truth. You were adopted for freedom. Not freedom to do as you please but an even greater freedom, freedom to see what life was really about and the ability to carry out your calling and live.
Ephesians 2:1-10 1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.