For ye are bought with a price
Paris Reidhead's convicting sermon 'Come'* struck me as he began to tell a story of an English goldminer in California, nearly in 1850's, who after success in mining, desired to return home to be with his people. After making many stops, he finally, arrived in New Orleans, where he would then take a ship to New York, and then to England.
As most tourists in New Orleans, he made his way to the slave market, for even then slaves were still being sold. And, there he saw many men crowded around the stage, talking about the new slave, who was for sale. He saw two evil-looking men bidding for her, as Reidhead puts it, very easily, so he went closer. There he heard what they had planned on doing with her and he could not stand to allow for them to commit such heinous, swinish things against her.
As the price was getting higher and higher, many bidders withdrew, but these evil men remained bidding for her. In disgust, he could no longer watch, so he bid a figure that was exactly twice the last bid, the most ever paid for a slave in that particular market.
He ascended the stairs and the auctioneer said, "Have you got the money?"
He replied, "Yea, I got the money." He, then, walked over to the block and collected the woman he had bought.
She came down one step and stood in level with his eyes, she had made a mouth full of spittle, and she spat full in his face. Through clenched teeth she said, "I hate you."
Saying nothing, he took the back of his hand and wiped the spit from his face.
He took her by the hand walked her across the street and down an alley to a small office building.
He went to the desk and began to speak to the man who sat behind it. The man began to protest, yet the Englishman argued, "I insist it's the law, I insist it's the law." Until the man granted him his request.
He paid the money and in his hands he held some papers, he walked over to the infuriated woman, who stood like a beast ready to spring.
He handed her the papers, "Here, here are your manumission papers; you're free."
She still said, "I hate you."
He replied, "Didn't you understand? I said, 'here are your manumission papers; you are free.'"
In disbelief, she stuttered, "I-I, no, you paid twice as much for me as was ever paid for anybody on that block. I don't believe it."
He said, "Yes, these are your manumission papers," and he put them in here hand.
Confused, she said, "Mister, do you mean to say, that you bought me to set me free?"
"Yes; that's why I bought you, to set you free."
Tears welled in her eyes, her face softened.
She slipped down on her hands and knees, placing her hands around those rough miners boots, she laid her cheeks down on the toe of one of them. Through her tears, she sobbed, "Oh, you bought me to set me free. You bought me to set me free. You bought me to set me free. You paid more than has ever been paid before, just to set me free." Through her tears, she looked and said, "Oh, sir, all I want in life is to be your slave. You bought me to set free."
* * * * *
In this story, I learned two things:
- I realised that woman, was me, He had bought me to set me free. The chains of sin which once bound me to the devil, were now broken. He bought me to set me free. Though, I lived a selfish, unworthy life, Christ paid the price so that I would be free from the wages of my past actions.
- Her response to the man brought her on her knees not only to proclaim that, he had saved her. Yet, because of his apparent care, and his redemptive concern for her, she was further moved to say, "All I want in life is to be your slave."
The latter of these concepts seems extreme, yet in deep consideration, we realise that our allegiance to Christ means just that, being in submission to His command. Not in misery or contempt, but love, for He came and saved us from the wily one, that we might be free!
How can one understand such a love that endures beatings, whips and mockery from those who He came to save?
How humbling, the thought!
Yet inspiring, I see the example that Christ has set for me, as His follower, who cowers behind His cross.
I see His pattern that as His servant and daughter is mine with which to conform, as I cling to the hem of his garment.
An example and a pattern, that He has promised to help me follow, not in my strength but in HIS.
How can I but smile and acknowledge again, "His grace is sufficient."
Learning more about my Saviour,