She was penniless, abandoned and alone. A starving outcast from society — cast about on cold streets by the winds of shame. Hope had fled away. Love was only a bad memory that brought with it great pain.
But one day there was a change in the wind. A gentle breeze of unmerited mercy blew and began prodding her along, until she found herself outside the gates of a magnificent mansion. Incredibly, the owner of the mansion saw her huddled outside his gates, had compassion on her and took her in.
He removed her filthy rags and covered her with his own finely made garments. He washed years of grime and dirt off of her. He led her to a banquet table filled with a rich assortment of the most delectable foods she had ever seen.
So taken was she by his mercy and grace that she said to herself, “I will repay the master for his abundant generosity and become his grateful servant”. And so she set herself to working hard, cleaning and doing everything she could think of to show the master how grateful she was.
But as she willingly served the master she saw something — something she deeply longed for but knew she could never have. Yes, the master had shown her much mercy and compassion. Yes, he was unquestionably generous and loving. And yet she was just his servant. And that meant that certain things were off-limits to her, including one place she was especially drawn to — the family quarters — where she knew the master spent much of his time being close with his family.
She longed to be as close to the master as his family was, but she had to content herself with the knowledge that at least she was pleasing him. She so much wanted to recline at his feet as he dined, and hear the wise words he spoke, but that just wouldn’t be proper. That would be out of place — for a servant girl.
But one day, the master beckoned her to follow him. Dutifully, she followed — until she saw he was headed into the family quarters. She hesitated. Surely she was not allowed to go in there. Surely she must wait outside.
Seeing her hesitation, the master turned and asked her what the problem was.
“Sir”, she said with great respect, “I am just your servant and I’m not permitted to enter the private family rooms.”
Turning fully towards her, he took her hand in his, looked deep into her eyes and said, “Daughter! Did you think you were just my servant?! You are not a servant, for I have adopted you. You may go wherever you like in my house.”
With that, he escorted her into the family quarters to where a ornate cabinet stood. Unlocking it, he pulled open one of the drawers, lifted out a golden ring and put it on her finger. The ring had a coat of arms embossed on it, signifying the family seal. He explained that with this ring she could go wherever she liked. She could buy anything she desired in his name, for the ring verified that she was fully and legally his daughter.
He drew her close to him, as she had seen him hug his own children. He softly whispered her name, and told her how happy she made him and how glad he was that she had shown up at his gate that day. He looked into her eyes and told her she was a servant no more, that he was her father now and that he would always be there for her.
“Could it be true?!” she thought. “Could she really be the master’s daughter?! Could he really love me like that?! How could he possibly want me?!”
And while it took a long time for it to fully sink in, the former servant girl, the former orphan, the former outcast, slowly realized that she really was the master’s daughter. Not only would she never be alone again. She would also never be a mere servant again, perpetually excluded from the best parts of living in the master’s house.
Why then do we live like servants? Have you noticed the family ring you wear? It’s proof that we’ve been adopted into His family!