Slavery; February 11, 2022

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

This passage takes on extra weight when we realize it was addressed to slaves. It wasn’t that Paul approved of slavery, but it was certainly a fact of life. It’s only been in the past few hundred years that there have been any serious efforts to outlaw slavery anywhere in the world. Sadly, there are more slaves today than there have been at any time in history, only we call it “human trafficking.” This is in no way to excuse slavery, but it certainly squelches any sense of entitlement to complain about our employment! If every employee were to take this to heart, any company would succeed amazingly! There are a wide variety of bosses and managers, as well as of work conditions in general. This isn’t to say that poor bosses aren’t to be called to account or that working conditions aren’t to be improved, but it is a powerful reminder that temporal things ultimately aren’t that big a deal, since they are temporary. The NIV simply says we will “receive an inheritance,” but the Japanese says we will “inherit the Kingdom.” Keeping your eye on the prize can help you get through just about anything! An example in point is Yeonmi Park, who escaped North Korea as a young teenager only to be sex trafficked in China before finally escaping to the West. Today she lives in America and is a powerful voice against the lies that are being pushed on us daily, but you would never imagine her horrible history if she didn’t tell you, because she is beautifully bright and cheerful and optimistic. She found out about Jesus Christ while she was in China, in the middle of being sex trafficked, and that has made all the difference. Dennis Prager interviewed her, and he says she is one of the most incredible people he has ever met. She applied this passage before she even read it, and she is already reaping the benefits of her faith.

I’ve generally been blessed by my employment circumstances. The closest I’ve come to slavery was when I was in the Army, when full obedience was demanded, but that was still no comparison. As I have grown older, my perspective on the temporal has certainly changed. Complaining is no longer particularly attractive! Yesterday I conducted the funeral of a family friend. Most of her relatives are not yet Christians, nor was she, and I was struck by the emptiness of the Buddhist trappings that were there simply as custom. At the crematorium, as the bones were retrieved from the refractory table and placed in the urn, I thought again about how our physical bodies are simply something we use for a while. I know I’ve got a much better model waiting for me! I am not to complain about anything, but indeed serve my Lord Christ with all my heart, so that His purposes for me may be fulfilled for His glory.

Father, thank You for having that family reach out to me, after they were so disgusted by the response of the Buddhist temple when they consulted with them. Thank You for Your anointing and the things You said through me. I pray that every word of Yours would remain in the hearts of those who heard, drawing them to You in repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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