A Look at Redemption

Sometimes in the Christian walk, truths seem to grow stale; this isn’t because they are less applicable, less empowering, or less valuable, but rather because we bring our own misconceptions to the table in considering them. Sometimes a fresh perspective, a fresh explanation, of the simplest and most potent truths is the only way that they can truly hit home. Recently, I came across the beautiful poem written by George Herbert in the 17th century. Is it possible that in order to fully grasp something in all of its beauty, we must look to the wisdom of the ages in order to be lifted out of the narrowness of our perspective?

Redemption

By George Herbert

Having been tenant long to a rich lord,
    Not thriving, I resolvèd to be bold,
    And make a suit unto him, to afford
A new small-rented lease, and cancel th’ old.
In heaven at his manor I him sought;
    They told me there that he was lately gone
    About some land, which he had dearly bought
Long since on earth, to take possessiòn.
I straight returned, and knowing his great birth,
    Sought him accordingly in great resorts;
    In cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts;
At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth
    Of thieves and murderers; there I him espied,
    Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died.
A tenant. That is what I am; that is what you are. To think that I am bankrupt? To think that I must get on my knees to beg for a “new small-rented lease”? That crushes pride and bites at the very marrow of our human nature, yet He makes it worth all the pain of self-denial. Notice that before we even ask for His grace, He grants it. With His dying breath, He gasps, “Your suit is granted,” and then expires. Have you ever thought of what Christ’s death entails? Have you ever thought of our absolute poverty in relation to Christ? And yet, we try to tell ourselves how sacrificial we are being in doing a good deed here and there, and sticking the “Christianity” sticker on it as an afterthought. Goodness! What selfish, blind creatures we are! What can we do but fall on our faces before our “rich lord” and recognize the amazing depth of His mercy to us!
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