“When you sit to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before you: and put a knife to your throat, if you are a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties; for they are deceitful meat. For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty; and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags”. (Proverbs 23:1-3, 21 KJV)
Chief Rowland was preparing to attend a party in his best friend’s house; he had dressed in his finest attire when he discovered he needed an escort. Unfortunately, his wife and children were not around, so he called a slave, “Jack, I am going to my friend’s party and I need an escort, will you come along?”. Jack replied “I would love to go with you sir, but my fear is that when we get to the party, you would declare my status as a slave and everyone will laugh at me”.
The Chief replied “don’t worry, I promise I won’t call you my slave. I have brought out clothes befitting my son for you, so that you’ll look just like my son, here change into this”. So Jack dressed like a rich man’s son and went with Chief Rowland to the party. There were plenty food at the party and wine flowed freely, but Chief kept his promise and did not tell anyone that Jack was his slave.
As they settled down to eat, Chief Rowland could not find Jack anywhere, so he assumed he was probably meeting with other rich young people at the party. But a few minutes later a puzzled serving maid tapped Chief Rowland, “Sir, that man you brought, the one you called your son is in the kitchen eating the leftovers stuck to the floor of the pounded yam mortar”. Chief Rowland laughed heartily and then replied, “Oh! You mean Jack? He is not my son, he is only the slave I brought as my footman. When the disgraced Jack was brought back in tears, he told the Chief, “Sir, you made a promise that you would not call me your slave,” Chief replied “I kept my promise, it was your behavior that showed the world who you are”. A changed cloth does not equate a changed heart.
When a sinner comes to Jesus, he does not give a new cloth but a new heart. Matt. 15:18-19 says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies”
Holiness and righteous living is a struggle for many people today because of the kind of heart they have. The most important question to ask is not what degrees or qualifications, cars or any material thing in your possession? It is rather what kind of heart do you have? When transformation does not begin from the heart, every other attitude is a mere show off. New birth is non-negotiable; it cannot be conferred on anyone like chieftaincy or honorary degree.
Rom. 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”.
Jack, the slave, was dressed like a son but lacked the heart and consciousness of sonship. What kind of attitude do you exhibit in the secret and public? Can you truly say you are born again? Money for luxuries may not be your problem but the contents of your heart will reveal your ‘religious life’. Become honest with yourself today and let Jesus transform your life by giving you a new heart.