His Goodness, Our Willingness
Wednesday - September 1st
Scripture to Read Today: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave
to everyone, to win as many as possible.
1 Corinthians 9:19
A person found stealing or becoming indebted to another during the time of Moses' leadership over the Israelites would not be imprisoned. Instead, he'd become a slave to the person from whom he stole until the debt was repaid.
Likewise, someone who borrowed money from another would become a slave to his creditor until his debt was paid in full. This form of slavery or indentured service among the Israelites was part of the economic system and far different from forms of slavery linked to subjugation and power at the core of slavery in the more modern era.
The law given to Moses by God stated that the total number of years someone who owed another financially and could be an indentured servant was six years. So after six years, whether or not the debt was paid, the indentured slave had to be released.
As a matter of fact, every six years, all were to be set free. Then, the master was to release the servant with his full blessing. In addition, the law required him to provide his former slave enough household items and food to help the newly released slave restart his life.
However, at the end of the debt or the six years, the slave may have an excellent relationship with his master and may even feel like a member of the master's family. As a result, the slave was offered the option of becoming a lifelong slave. The master may have been so incredibly gracious that for the slave, staying in his master's service might be a far greater opportunity for him and his family to flourish - as opposed to an independent life of struggling to make ends meet.
In these scenarios, the indentured servant would be more like family than a slave to the master. The path forward for the servant looked so much more promising, continuing in his role as servant.
Exodus 21:5-6 describes the process of a slave willingly and wonderfully becoming a servant for life. "The slave may declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I don't want to go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door or doorpost and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will serve his master for life."
The mark in his ear would indicate to all that he was a servant by choice, not because of indebtedness. His debt had been paid in full. But, his master was so incredibly kind and gracious that the servant chose to stay - to serve his master for the rest of his life willingly and eagerly.
The goodness our Savior has shown toward us should cause us to make a similar choice. We should embrace serving Him for the rest of our lives with that same willingness and eagerness of the ear-pierced Old Testament servants. Paul told the church at Corinth that this commitment to serve our gracious Savior extends beyond our God and ultimately to everyone in our lives. "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible" (1 Corinthians 9:19).
Today as you help, encourage, and serve those that God brings in your path, remember that as the servant with the pierced ear, serving others is the natural choice based on the amazing grace of God toward you!
God’s goodness leads to our willingness to serve Him and others for the rest of our lives!