Richard RobertsFourth of four parts        

Many years ago there was a great American exotic bird hunter who went to the darkest jungles of Africa in search of rare and exotic birds to bring home to the St. Louis Zoo. On this particular trip, he captured many birds, but one was a very tiny, magnificently outstanding bird, exotically beautiful in its colors. He put it in a little cage and took it aboard the ship to come back to America. But it nearly drove the bird wild to be in a cage. It had never before been confined in a prison-like cage. It beat its wings against the cage and did everything possible to get out.

After several days, and after continually working with the little wooden bars in the cage, that little bird somehow squeezed its body through the bars, got out, and began to fly, circling the boat; free at last.

The bird hunter looked up and saw the little bird making circles and looking down as if to say, “I’m free, I’m free!” Then the bird took off. The hunter watched the bird in his binoculars as he disappeared over the horizon.

A day passed, and the hunter was standing at the railing of the ship looking in his binoculars when he saw a little tiny dot. The dot kept getting a little clearer and clearer. Soon he began to see the colors of the bird, which somehow had seemingly begun to fade.

The little bird came nearer and nearer and suddenly began to circle around the ship, looking down at the American bird hunter as if to say, “I’m back! I’m back!” And in a heap, the little bird collapsed on the ship. It seemed as if the bird recognized that the only way to get across that vast ocean was in what he thought was his prison.

We humans sometimes also bash and bruise ourselves by not recognizing the only way to get across the ocean of life is in what many of us think of as a prison—our job, our relationship, our marriage. However, true and total freedom is only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ (James 8:36). And freedom is never free; it always costs something. Everything worth having in life does.

So, let’s remember…Freedom is not the right to do as we want; freedom is the responsibility to do as we ought.