Tan: Sons not slaves

“And because we are His children, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out ‘Abba Father’” Galatians 4:6

WHENEVER we, as church ministers, were overwhelmed by the stress of ministry, we loved to go to the farm of Manong Ombet Gabona in Dacudao, Calinan... quite a long drive from the city, but once you get there, you would surely find peace.

Manong Ombet would prepare us “tinola”... we all loved that... and then when we returned home, we would be loaded with plenty of fruits from his farm. It has been quite a while since we visited his farm. Looking back, I can recall one lesson I learned from the lovebirds on the farm. These birds were all "detained" in one big cage, large enough for them not to be overcrowded and yet have enough "freedom" to fly.

Everything looked fine... til one bird noticed that the cage door was open! Out of the many birds, only one dared to fly free! I was expecting all of them would fly away scot-free, no... only one dared!

Let me share my thoughts about the bird that dared... I am sure that for the first time, he saw a world greater than the cage. He was exposed to many other birds in different sizes flying free. The feeling was awesome! The experience, priceless... that is until this “free” bird realized that freedom had its own price. When his stomach churned for food, he now needed to hunt while in the cage; rations of birdseeds were regularly provided. What he thought were cute kids were actually farm boys with slingshots aimed at him. Then came the threat of the black cats who were praying for a prey! What were his options... either return to the cage or fly free and learn to survive?

Well, a few minutes later, after tasting the sweet and bitter taste of freedom, the lovebird chose to return to the cage. There he was safe and fed, restricted but free from boys with slingshots and hungry, prayerful cats. I laughed at Pastor Gerry Molato's theory—he said the bird returned because he heard his wife whistle... hahahaha, every husband understands that... the fear of the wife is the beginning of peace (joke).

My reflection is that the bird realized that safety is best rather than freedom. I also think that to be “free” means to dare to go out from our safety zones which actually have become our cage. To be free is to be wise enough so your freedom does not lead you to your doom. To be free is to be the bird God designed you to be. To spread your wings and fly!

Some thoughts say better to be a bird in the cage than a dead bird outside the cage. Well, here many opinions differ, depending on what we value the most in life. Some value safety, they stay; some value becoming a true bird, they fly. Which lovebird are you? Me, I am learning more to go near the edge of the open cage... give me some more time, I think I will fly.

Now that I turned 48 yesterday, I realized I am not really a daring person, but something within my soul says I do not belong to the cage, I must fly, I must fly free!

Speaking of freedom, I think we bear the same struggle spiritually, Christ opened the cage, it is his design that his followers walk in liberty, meaning, daringly becoming the person God wants them to be! The danger is real, while the promise safety inside the cage is false. What if the bird after flying free for some time became the cat's lunch?

My thinking is at least for a few moments he became the bird God designed him to be, than to be a safe, fat bird inside a cage who has never soared in freedom! Remember, by faith in Christ, you no longer are slaves, but sons. Only by faith in Christ do we find this freedom. Honestly, I feel sad for those birds who have tasted freedom and yet choose to go back to the cage.

Thank you for reading…I always write from my heart.

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