[Part 5, Chapter 35]
It was a cruddy job, but the end goal was worth it. My brother-in-law was ‘required’ to belly crawl under a shearing shed, rake out the sheep poop, bag it, and take it back for the soon-to-be-in-law’s vegetable garden.
My father-in-law is a generous man. Even so, he didn’t give his daughters away for nothing. There was a price to be paid.
My bride-price for his other daughter was light in comparison. It involved going to a paddock where grain had recently been harvested and shovelling all the spillages into bags to take home for his chooks.
The ransom I had to pay was worth every blister.
How much are you worth?
Sometimes it seems to depend. You get a good grade, your friendships are growing well, you have a nice job, you’re making a half reasonable fist of parenting … okay, I do have worth.
The tendency is to gauge your worth by your work, your value by your vitality, your esteem by your excelling.
What about the bad hair days? Or when your mortgage application is refused, or your rent increases beyond your ability to pay? Or when you get retrenched, or you can’t find work or the work you have seems mundane?
Your sense of worth becomes like a seesaw ride in the park: the extent of the experience depends on who or what is on the other end. Up and down.
Favour ransoms you from a fluctuating estimate of your worth.
A ransom is payment given for the release of someone or something to you.
You might think about kidnappings and payoffs when you hear the word ransom, but in biblical times, it was the price paid to release a slave from the slave market.
Jesus adopts this imagery when saying that he didn’t come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
He goes into the slave market of sin, insecurity, shame, guilt, fear, hurt, and rejection, and he ransoms us. Jesus pays whatever price is needed to deliver us from that debilitating slave market of abandonment and despair. He doesn’t only pick the pretty, capable, buff, confident, prosperous ones. It’s impossible for him to do so, because his eyes of favour mean he never sees people through the lens of performance.
The ransom he pays is his own life. To use another bible word, he redeems us. That is, he buys us back. We were his when he created us. Sin sought to separate us from Father’s goodness. We cut ourselves off from Father’s heart, so becoming a people without hope. Jesus paid for us again. He ransomed and redeemed us. With his life. His life is now our life.
I love the ministry of John and Staci Eldredge called Ransomed Heart.
While I love their material, it’s the name that first captivated me. It still does.
I can reflect on that for ages. It can be my pondering phrase on a long run.
You have a ransomed heart. That’s a practical outward expression of favour in your life.
It’s what both Mary and Zachariah sing about in Luke 1.
Join the chorus.