This morning, the guest speaker at our church told a story about Abraham Lincoln that he said was most likely apocryphal, but was a good story regardless of its veracity.
I looked it up online and found reference to it here.
Blogger Ken Stoll said the story is recounted in a book by Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom:
Abraham Lincoln went to a slave market. There he noted a young, beautiful African-American woman being auctioned off to the highest offer. He bid on her and won. He could see the anger in the young woman’s eyes and could imagine what she was thinking, ‘another white man will buy me, use me, and then discard me’.
As Lincoln walked off with his ‘property’, he turned to the woman and said, ‘You’re free’. ‘Yeah. What does that mean?’ she replied. ‘It means that you’re free.’ ‘Does it mean I can say whatever I want to say?’ ‘Yes,’ replied Lincoln, smiling, ‘it means you can say whatever you want to say.’ ‘Does it mean,’ she asked incredulously, ‘that I can be whatever I want to be?’ ‘Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.’ ‘Does it mean,’ the young woman said hesitantly, ‘that I can go wherever I want to go?’ ‘Yes, it means you are free and you can go wherever you want to go.’
‘Then,’ said the woman with tears welling up in her eyes, ‘I think I’ll go with you.’
The speaker then said, “I don’t know if it’s true about Abraham Lincoln, but I know it’s true about Jesus Christ.”
He has paid the price on the cross that we might be set free.
Like the slave girl, we, too, can choose to follow the one who paid the price.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Roman 6:22)
Come, follow me (Mark 1:17)
Are the demands of motherhood keeping you from a rich relationship with God?
With ideas from mothers in all seasons of life, this book offers creative, practical, and enjoyable suggestions to help you discover how a passionate relationship with God is possible in the midst of motherhood.
“The Contemplative Mom gives busy, loving, kid-centered mothers permission to rest, like a tired child, in God’s strong arms. An important book.”
—Rachael and Larry Crabb, authors and speakers
This idea of “becoming slaves to God” is the stumbling block. It just doesn’t seem right to so many. Many folks don’t get that God doesn’t seem to want to be “equals” with us! (Because they don’t get that “he took the form of a slave” Himself!?
And even for those who accept it with what we think is our whole heart…it sticks somehow in the craw. Maybe it’s the “now that you have been set free from sin” part…
I admire how St. Paul tosses that off. “Now” — hm, yes, well…
Thanks for the food for thought and prayer!
Oh, I love this! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story, laden with so much truth.
Joyce T. Plyler says
It is a beautiful story about a wonderful man, our President Abraham Lincoln. However, I would like to know if this story is made up because we need truth more than story. I have looked a bit, but cannot find this purchase of the slave girl and the conversations between her and Lincoln. I love Truth! It penetrates more than story and analogy. Thank you for listening. Joye
Hey, Joye! Thanks for dropping by. I did mention that the person who told the story conceded it was likely apocryphal. In the book where I found it mentioned, the author framed it as “legend.” Here’s an excerpt from the book I mentioned, A Scandalous Freedom: http://www.thetransformedsoul.com/about-the-book/chapters/chapter-2