"Feed the Flock": The Reluctant Prisoner

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:3636If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)).
As we pulled into our garage, I saw something gray and furry in our cat’s eating and sleeping quarters. Our cat is black, so I knew right away this was an “uninvited visitor” who had used the two-way entrance door to make itself right at home. I climbed out of the van for a closer look and found myself looking into the masked face of a raccoon!
The inviting smell of cat food evidently had lured him into his new surroundings where he was contentedly eating what belonged to another. But the striped thief soon found his happiness replaced by fear. He wasn’t expecting or wanting company!
But there was a way of escape for him. He was standing right by the special two-way door which led to freedom and his home in the trees! All he had to do was push against it to gain his freedom.
But there was a big problem.
I was on the outside of that door.
Trying to shoo him into escaping, I began banging on the cage, which didn’t help matters.
The furry intruder became increasingly afraid. Realizing that he was no match for the human being who was so noisily thumping on his prison, he curled up into a trembling ball, perhaps trying to hide or maybe trying to pretend that I wasn’t there at all.
He didn’t know how much I wanted him out of my garage—not because I loved him, but because I wanted my cat to have his home back. I tried different ways to get him to leave—poking him, banging on the cage and making all sorts of noise.
The raccoon responded by curling into a tighter ball and, from time to time, peeking to see if I was still there. Finally, using a stick, I pushed open the special door by which he had originally entered his little prison. Still the raccoon didn’t seem to want to leave. Eventually, and rather reluctantly, he crawled out the door. Once outside and realizing he really was free, he quickly ran away into the woods.
Many people have been lured into Satan’s world by what looks so good, so exciting and so tasty. But they soon find themselves trapped—enslaved by the prince of this world (see John 12:3131Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (John 12:31)), the Devil.
Though the Lord Jesus is still near, offering true freedom to whosoever will (Rev. 22:1717And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17))—just like the escape door in the raccoon’s prison—people trapped in their sins are fearful, unhappy, not knowing, not believing or not caring that the Son of God offers them freedom, salvation and joy.
God’s wonderful freedom happens when a sinner believes that He raised Jesus from the dead and confesses Jesus as Lord with the mouth (Rom. 10:99That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)).
Let’s not be like that raccoon, getting ourselves into bondage and neglecting the true freedom that is offered us by the Lord Jesus. He has every happiness and blessing to offer, and it’s right there, waiting for anyone—whosoever—to receive it from Him.
“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:2828Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)).
R. Short (adapted)