The Cattle Dealer’s Worship
Isn't the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and to not ignore your own flesh [and blood]? – Isaiah 58:6-7 HCSB
There once lived a wealthy business man who took $1,500 (a fabulous sum in the day) to a distant city in order to conduct some business. While there, he happened to see on the street a remarkable elderly man whose entire demeanor expressed a holy joy. People explained to him, “That’s our Pastor. He is seeking donations to free people who have been imprisoned for their debts.”
Today’s passage teaches that ransoming captives is a very sacred deed (a mitzvah). The cattle dealer was so impressed with the godly man’s evident spirituality and holy desire that he approached the tzaddik and asked, “How much money do you need to collect?”
The Pastor replied “Only $1,500. I have worked for many days and have already collected $12! Praise to the Holy One!”
The cattle dealer gave the Pastor the $1,500 that had been designated for his business who in return gave the cattle dealer the $12 so that he could get home. The business man started to go and then turned back. “I have one favor to ask in return for my gift.” He said. “I would like for you to pray that I would experience the presence of the Holy One like you do.” The Pastor laid his gnarled old hands on the business man’s head and prayed for Jehovah’s blessing upon him.
When the business man returned home, his wife asked, “Where are the cattle you were supposed to buy?”
As he thought of the prisoners being released and the joy caused by his gift, he responded, “I have bought much better merchandise.”
That Sunday, the businessman entered into worship with great zest. He fully realized the joy of worship liberated from material desires. He danced to the songs and lifted his hands in praise to the Lord as he heard the words of truth spoken.
Many of us long to experience true worship. But we remain trapped in our ideas of what worship entails. We long for relationship, but fail to reach out and serve others. We long for freedom, but clutch our wallets with palsied hands when the world is reaching out in need. You were liberated of the eternal consequences of your sin if you accepted Christ as your Savior. But are you still trapped by your desires? Seek first the Kingdom of God, above all else. Fear the Lord above all else. Therein lies to path to liberated worship.
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