That’s a great question, isn’t it? The short answer is . . . everything.
Sounds terrifying, no? As we unpack this answer, let’s remind ourselves of a few things.
One of the terms in the New Testament that describe our redemption is exagoradzo. The ex part means “out from”. The agora was the central shopping mall of the ancient Greek city. Everything was bought and sold there. Including slaves. I know what you’re thinking. I’m property? Hold on for a moment and I’ll answer that a few paragraphs down this post.
You have been taught that sin leads to death, physically separating your soul from your body. But you are also dead spiritually, in that your being is separated from God forever. Jesus, because of Who He is and what He has done and is still doing, has freed you from all that and reconciled you to the Father. Provided, or course, that you have taken Him up on His offer.
So the word exagoradzo describes how Jesus took you off the auction block in the marketplace of the cosmos and brought you into His family, Body of Christ.
So now . . .
- He asks you to realize your life is no to be longer the center of your universe (Mark 8:34; I Peter 4:2)
- You possess a new master (Philippians 3:7-8)
- You are not a part-timer (Luke 9:23)
- Your family and all you possess are on loan. You are now a steward of what God has given you (Matt. 10:37)
- Your call to discipleship may even extend to dying for His hidden purpose (John 16:2)
Through His parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough; deeds are required.
Do I have a choice in the matter?
Yes. Unlike being a slave to sin, where you really had no choice – as if you never said, “I couldn’t help myself! I just blurted out what was on my mind!” – you can now with full knowledge and culpability accept or rebel. So, choose.
It may be the devil,
or it may be the Lord,
But you gotta serve somebody!
— Bob Dylan, from the album Slow Train Coming
The proud human proclaims. “I serve no one. I am the master!” That reminds me of the old saying, “The man who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer”? Are you really the captain of your soul, as the well-known poem Invictus suggests? Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, “You were bought at a price, do not become slaves of men.” I Corinthians 7:23.
Even of yourself.
So are we God’s property?
No. We are God’s men and women who have been redeemed from the marketplace of death and now follow our King and Redeemer. Are we slaves? More than slaves.refers to himself several times as a bonded-servant.
There is a beautiful picture of this in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 15:12-18, it speaks of people who become servants in a household. Usually this is for a specified time only, after which the servant is again a free human being. But if they come to love the household and the master, they may voluntarily become servants for life.
We all are called to be bond-servants. This doesn’t mean that God has called each of us to wash floors. Your calling may be as a parent and photographer. Or someone motivated to do great things to advance civilization. Think up, be positive, but be prepared for occasional service down on your knees. Wherever you go in life, bring a bucket and a mop. Just in case.
The cross will not crush you; if its weight makes you stagger, its power will also sustain you.
St. Padre Pio