July 4, 2012
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
In 2005 Prom Vannak Anan had a new baby to support.
That's why, when a "job agent" held out the possibility of improving his condition, Anan jumped at the opportunity. Yes, the position would take him far from home, but what was an inconvenience like distance when it came to providing a good life for his child.
Anan didn't get the promised job.
What he got was slavery -- years of slavery in the service of a Thai boat owner.
Since the U.S. of A. is still a land of freedom you may be excused if you don't understand what that previous sentence means. Let me offer a few words of explanation. For Anan it meant he was never paid for his work. Indeed, for years he was never paid. It meant he was never allowed to go ashore; it meant he was never allowed to communicate with his family. It meant he was beaten, and he was chained, and he was imprisoned.
It meant his life was put on permanent hold.
In 2009 Anan's captors made a mistake. They anchored just a few miles off shore. That night, using the city lights as a guide, Anan slipped overboard and swam for freedom of Malaysia. He didn't get that freedom.
The Malaysian police sold him into service at a palm oil plantation. It took another year before Anan found help, freedom and his family. Now he tells his stories and calls upon everyone from governments to individuals to eradicate the $30-billion-dollar-a-year slavery industry.
Last month Anan was among ten folks the United States honored for having made a difference fighting modern-day slavery. You see, though our Savior's sacrifice has freed us from the spiritual slavery of sin, the devil and death, there are an estimated 27 million people in the world who remain in physical slavery. (POI: At its peak America had four million slaves.)
Anan's is a cause which is backed by this day-of-liberty devotion. With our prayers, by offering encouragement to government officials, by asking retailers to make sure their products are made in slave-free environments, we can help.
After all, who is better able to push the cause of freedom than those whose souls have been freed by the Savior's blood and whose bodies and minds enjoy liberty, because there have always been those among us who have taken the cause of independence seriously.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive those times when my earthly and eternal freedoms are not appreciated. May I not only give thanks for these blessings, may I also prove myself willing to do what I can so others may be similarly blessed. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries