Children's Corner: Really Free!
Written By: Jim Swanson | Posted: Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
Thaddeus lived many years ago in a city in Asia Minor until a fierce army of Romans came in, plundering and killing. He was taken capture as a slave and never saw his family again. It was hard not to feel bitter about the Roman cruelty. But Thaddeus decided to work hard with the faint hope that maybe someday someone would set him free.
Thaddeus was sold as a household slave into a wealthy family in Athens. He was put in charge of their lavish gardens and did well in keeping them thriving. He made sure his work was noticed when his boss, or a family member was present. But he still made mistakes and was publicly beaten for them. How he longed to be set free! This longing was the only thing that kept him going each day.
One day Thaddeus was approached by his boss. "The madam will speak with you this afternoon following lunch. Don't be late."
"Yes, Sir, " Thaddeus answered. His mind began to spin. What would she say? Could this be the fulfillment of his dream for freedom?
That afternoon Thaddeus found himself standing before the lady of the house. "Thaddeus, I have heard good things about your work here."
"Yes, Madam, " Thaddeus replied. "I try to do my best. . . most of the time."
"I'm sure you do. That is why I must tell you this. Our financial situation has taken a turn for the worse. As a result we must sell some of our property. With your youth, and strength, and diligence, you are one of my most valuable assets. Tomorrow I will be selling you at auction. Get your things together by then." Thaddeus was devastated. His hopes were dashed to pieces. He cried himself to sleep that night.
The next morning Thaddeus stood on the block. Various people eyed him curiously and commented to one another. He felt humiliated once again. Finally the bidding began. The price went up and up. It went far higher than the customary value of a slave. One gentleman on his right exceeded every bid offered by others. He was not dressed fancy. Where did he get money to buy a slave like me, Thaddeus wondered. What would he want a slave like me for anyway?
Finally the bidding was over. The gentleman had bid the highest and walked forward to pay the price. Thaddeus saw him pull a bag from his coat and pour the contents onto the table. The bag contained exactly the price he bid for the boy. Now he approached Thaddeus, smiling. "You are mine now, " he said. "Fortunately the others quit bidding just in time. I paid for you with everything I have."
"You did?" Thaddeus responded in wonder. "B-but why? Why did you spend so much for me? I'm not worth that much."
"I was a boy once myself, " the man replied, still smiling. "And I know the joy of freedom." Then, taking the chains from Thaddeus' arms, the man announced, "I want you to enjoy freedom also. I bought you to set you free. You are no longer a slave. You are free to do whatever you like. Run along now, enjoy your life, and God bless you."
But Thaddeus just stood there, in disbelief. He had wanted to be free. Could it really be true that he finally was really free? Suddenly he began to shout for joy and jump up and down. He hugged the man and thanked him again and again. Then he threw dirt into the air and danced some more, shouting over and over, "I'm free! I'm free."
But just then stopped, and looked at the smiling man. He gave everything he owned just to set me free, Thaddeus thought. He gave everything, everything he owned. Why would he do that for me? Thaddeus could go no further. He fell at the feet of the generous man, sobbing in gratitude.
"I have decided what I will do with the rest of my life, " he told the stranger.
"Really? Already? And what might that be, my fine lad?"
"I have chosen to be your servant, Sir. You gave everything you have for me. I owe you my life. I have wanted for some years to really be free. I will not lose that freedom by willingly serving you out of a heart of gratitude and love."
You know, kids, Jesus said, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." Many boys and girls, young and old, have become slaves to sin. They cannot escape its tyranny. But one day our Creator paid the highest price for us when He gave us His Son. The Bible word 'redeemed' means 'the buy out of the market place.' With what did He pay for us? We are redeemed with the "precious blood of Christ." (I Peter 1:19) Now those of us who have received Him are really free! And what do we do with that freedom? The answer is found in I Peter 2:16. "As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness (wickedness), but as the servants of God." God says we must be a servant to something. Real freedom comes to those who accept God's forgiveness in Christ, and then choose to serve Him out of a heart of gratitude and love.