“This book made my dad want to get a tattoo,” I said in passing to my roommate Rachel.
All Rachel knew about my dad at the time was that he’s a Methodist pastor… not usually the “tattoo type”.
“What?! Your dad wants to get a tattoo? Because of a book? I want to read that after you!” was her flabbergasted reply.
Starting the book, I didn’t think I was in much danger of following in my dad’s footsteps of designing my own tattoo.
I was wrong. Sudden tattoo impulses were plaguing me as I read.
The book is A Better Freedom, Finding Life as Slaves of Christ by Michael Card. It. Is. Phenomenal. Even if you’re “not a reader” – get this book. (And if you are, well, I expect you’re already ordering it…)
Card examines images from Biblical (both Hebrew and Roman) as well as American slavery. He applies them deftly to our life as Slaves of Christ. And, yes, by the end it kind of makes you want to get a tattoo that says doulos (Greek for slave) or something to continually remind yourself, “I’m not my own, I’ve been bought with a price”.
I grew up knowing Card as a songwriter and will forever love him for songs like The Basin and the Towel, Things We Leave Behind, and Love Crucified Arose. The imagery and depth of insight I love in his songs are multiplied a hundredfold in his books. He tells you from the beginning he wants you to engage not only with your mind, but also “at the level of the imagination… to seek to understand with the heart”. He deftly helps you do so.
Lines from this book have made it onto my “quote wall” to continuously remind me of who I am. Card writes, “Servants don’t stand around and wait for thanks or affirmation when they do their duty. Everything they do is a privilege when it is done for their Master” (chapter 12). This book will renew your longing to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.
This book will also reinvigorate your understanding of Jesus. He who “surrendered to achieve victory… won everything by losing everything… died in order to live… washed feet, made breakfast, waited on, cared for, humbled and humiliated himself in a thousand ways we will never know of to forever establish himself as our unquestioned Master” (chapter 16). Read this book alongside Philippians 2 to appreciate again the amazing paradox of our servant Savior.
I can’t promise you won’t end up with a tattoo, though I think I’ll settle for a metal bracelet. I can promise you you’ll never think of your servant hood or your Master in the same way after reading this book.