Exodus 21:1-6 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free. Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
In this passage of Scripture, we see the clear difference between a slave and bondslave. It is important to first note that we do not condone or celebrate the act of slavery. However, there are some valuable lessons to learn about commitment from this passage.
Slaves were given terms of service. In most cases, they were not bound for life. The Bible tells us that on the seventh year the slaves were free to go. However, there were some stipulations laid out in the passage if they were to leave, what they would be permitted to take with them. We will not discuss this for sake of time.
What I would like to highlight is verse 6. For it is in this verse that we see the startling difference between a slave and a bondslave. As previously mentioned, the seventh year presents each slave a choice. They would have the choice to be a free man, or they would have a choice to continue serving their master. If they chose the latter, it would not be for another seven year term. They would remain a slave for life.
One would ask, “Why would a slave that has the opportunity of freedom, choose to be bound for life?” This is the significance of a bondsalve. There would obviously have to be something special about the working environment or something special about the master and his family that would entice a slave to want to be a bondslave.
I believe there are some amazing correlations that we can draw from this passage within our own relationship to the Lord. First, we must understand that serving the Lord is much more than just an activity or outward ministry for Christ. Many times we do ministry or “serve the Lord” with the wrong motives or to please the wrong people.
II Samuel 15:15 And the kings servants said unto the king (David), Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.
To be a bondslave means to be fully committed to God and to be readily available to do “whatsoever my Lord the King shall appoint.”
Though this is a nice thought, many Christians are not “readily available” for God’s use because of selfish goals and dreams (making money, sowing our wild oats, living for self, etc.). As a result of our own ambitions, we stop pursuing the most important work – God’s work.
If God were to identify us as being a common slave or a bondslave, which would He say we were? In other words, WHAT IS GOD’S OPINION OF US?
Based on the amount of time we spend reading our Bible right now, are we a bondslave for Christ? Based on the amount of time we spend praying right now are we a bondslave for Christ?
Based on the amount of time we spend worshipping and adoring God right now are we a bondslave for Christ? Based on the amount of time we spend ministering with godly motives and a pure heart are we a bondslave for Christ?
FIRST, bondslaves are bought with a price. We were all at one time found in the “slave market” of sin, waiting to be purchased, and hoping to end up in a good situation. Then Jesus was the “Master” that deemed us worthy of the highest price—His life! Thank God that He overlooked our sinfulness and counted us a worthy investment! By the grace of God, we now not only have a better “after-life” but a pretty awesome opportunity at a better “present-life”.
SECONDLY, bondslaves are faced with a choice. Upon purchasing us with His blood, Christ has given us a choice to serve Him or live for self (Joshua 24:15). One of my favorite memories must be during my high school years. I honestly believe that during this time, God allowed me to make some of my more crucial decisions that would help set up and mold my adult life.
I also remember that when I graduated from high school, I was in the valley of decision. Would I continue in the way God would have me go? Or would I chalk up the past several years as nothing more than a “great experience” and move on to something else? I do not regret my decision to be fully committed to God and going to Bible College.
Thirdly, bond-slaves are compelled by love. The first step to being a bondslave requires a clear decision to be made (verse 5). The bondslave would need to come to the conclusion that this is what they wanted to do.
Likewise, being a bondslave for Christ should carefully be thought out and prayed about. Too many ministry workers ministering half-heartedly because of a flippant decision they made for God, and as a result they end up being wishy washy with their service. The people we serve deserve more than that!
The second step would require the bondslave to make a public confession (verse 6). Being a bondslave for Christ means making it clear and obvious where WE STAND publicly, no undercover Christianity! Do the people around us know our commitment level for Christ?
The third step would require the bondslave to make a permanent decision (verse 6). Being a bondslave for Christ means to give our LIFE to God, not just our Bible college years, not just our early adult life, but the REST OF OUR LIFE.
As we can probably guess, not very many people would probably be willing to be a bondslave for Christ. It is the few, it is the minority, it is the remnant of SOLD OUT believers, that will experience the ABUNDANT CHRISTIAN LIFE. One day when we stand before Christ, it will be the bondslaves that get the most crowns to cast back at the feet of our precious Savior!
How can we follow through and see God do a great work in and through our lives?
As it made sense for the One who was the Word of God to follow the Word of God, so too does it make sense for His followers to do the same.