I just finished reading a book called Bullwhip Days. It is a collection of the memories of former slaves, written as part of the Federal Writers Project in the 1930’s. The people who were interviewed, in their own homes, were all quite elderly by this point. The book records not only the events, but the emotions that arose from the condition of being owned, as a piece of property.
Surprisingly, some of the former slaves not only had good masters, they loved them. They had a relationship that made them feel like part of the family, and they were well treated. Some said they were happier and better cared for as slaves than they were after being freed. This is not an attempt to justify slavery as an institution, because the big problem was this: you could not be certain of remaining with your good master. He might die. He might accumulate so much debt that he lost his property (including the slaves) to bankruptcy. He might become incapacitated and be replaced by an overseer or relative who was not so kind. At best, remaining in a good situation was no sure thing.
The Bible tells us that, unfortunately all of us are slaves to something.
“For speaking loud boasts of folly, they (the unrighteous) entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” 2 Peter 2:18-19
We can become slaves to addictions, to our social position, our jobs, our possessions, or even good things like our spouse or family. These are not kind masters because we can never have enough, or do enough to be satisfied. In addition, all of them are temporary and changeable. We may be contented for a time, but it will not last.
There is only one master who is kind, loving and permanent and that is God.
“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either sin, which leads to death, or of obedience that leads to righteousness? ” Romans 6:16
Your relationship with God will not change. He has your best interests at heart. In the end, only He can satisfy. Slavery is certain. Just make sure you’re serving the right master.
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