By Gayla Parker, BCM/D WMU Executive Director, Missionary for Missions Education and Customization, Missions Innovator Specialist (WMU, SBC)
“He shall take him (the servant) to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” Exodus 21:6b
At 14 I was sent to live with my father and stepmother. My stepmother and I barely knew each other. In an effort to bond, we thought it would be a fun to pierce our ears together. No, we were not doing this at a doctor’s office. We were doing this at home. Probably not the smartest idea! With excitement, giggles and determination, we read up on how to ‘self pierce’ and decided we would combine two techniques. First we froze my ear with an ice cube. Second, we placed a potato behind my ear for stability. Then we sterilized a sewing needle, marked the desired spots and started pushing the needle through.
Just as my stepmother pushed the needle in my ear lobe… she fainted! There I was, needle half way through my ear lobe, the potato still in my hand and my stepmother on the floor. After a brief moment of panic my first thought was, “I have to help my stepmother.”
Wiping her face with a cool washcloth brought her back to consciousness. The next thought, “What do I do with this needle partially through my ear lobe?” Taking a deep breath, I headed to the bathroom mirror and pushed the needle through my ear lobe and placed the sterile earring in the newly made hole. Took another deep breath and did my other ear. My stepmother??? She decided to wait and have hers done at a doctor’s office!
Looking back on that experience I wonder, “What was I thinking?!” I wanted my ears pierced. I wanted to wear the cute little guitar earrings I had saved up for months to buy. I thought my stepmother and I would have fun on this ‘adventure.’ I wanted to be identified with the other girls who had their ears pierced.
Every time I read Exodus 21, I can’t help but think of my own ear piercing experience and I’m reminded of the ‘piercing’ that happened two years later–my own salvation experience and declaration of service to my Lord. When these instructions were given to slave owners, there was more than one statement being made.
First of all, the Lord’s servant is not to be anyone’s perpetual slave. Thus the instruction, “after six years set him free.” In today’s culture, there are no longer legal slaves, but it is possible to be slave to a mindset or lifestyle. Are you taking time to keep yourself out of perpetual cultural bondage?
Secondly, the slave only had his ears pierced on his request. In Deuteronomy, it says only if the slave declares his love for the master and desire to serve the master for a lifetime can his ears be pierced. As believers we are choosing our declaration, “I love you, Lord, and want to serve you for a lifetime! Please, “pierce my ear.” David says it best in Psalm 40: 6-7, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced…I desire to do your will, O my God, your law is within my heart.”
My reason for allowing God to “pierce my ear”? I love Him and I want His piercing. I want to wear His name on my heart and mind. I know His piercing will include the ultimate adventure. I want to be identified with the God who sent His very Son to the cross that
I might have the opportunity to say “yea” to His piercing.
Steve Croft in his song Pierce My Ear wrote,
“Pierce my ear,O Lord, my God.
Take me to your door this day.
I will serve no other God.
Lord, I’m here to stay.
For you have paid the price for me.
With your blood you ransomed me.
I will serve you eternally
A free man I’ll never be.”
Is that your prayer today? The next time you put those cute little earrings in your ear, remember there is One who paid the price for you and would love to ‘pierce your ear’ today.