Jesonian: Mastering Service … September 21, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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john marcus

John Marcus was a “householder.”

It was the title granted to the colored slave to afford just enough dignity with a King James flavor, without bestowing elaborate honor for his needful subservient status.

Yes, John Marcus did it all. Cook, clean, repair, blacksmith, minister, caretaker and physician.

And because he took the jobs on–often that no one else wanted, including the white family which became very accustomed to being served–he was granted more and more liberty to work solo in order to achieve his ever-expanding, sophisticated results.

Today he was given a new job. He was to be mentor, and even punisher if necessary, to a belligerent sixteen-year-old runaway named Zachary. The little tyrant was placed in his care to train and also temper into achieving his place as a worker on the plantation.

So John Marcus decided to give the angry lad the job of cleaning the pots and pans. It was done alone in the back room of the kitchen and could be achieved even by a fitful worker without destroying too much private property.

When Zachary got John Marcus alone, far from prying ears, he shouted, “Why do you walk around with a smile on your face playing good house nigger?”

John Marcus smiled and gave no response, wiping the bottom of a dirty pot as any good instructor just might do.

After a good season of pan-scrubbing, Zachary challenged again. “Are you deaf? Why do you give in to the Massa?”

John Marcus paused, ceasing to scrape at the blackened pans. He stepped about five paces away and gently and tenderly stirred a cauldron of delicious stew he was nurturing for the evening’s consumption.

Zachary shook his head.

Suddenly John Marcus spoke. “There’s one Massa. His name is Jesus. He told me that the only way to gain mastery in life is to serve.”

“Weak words,” spit Zachary.

John Marcus chuckled. “And where have your strong words gotten you, boy? Lassoed? Drug through the dirt? Rejected? Listenin’ to some old man chaw at’cha while you’re scrubbin’ pans? And you know what else? You’ll be here scrubbin’ these same pans, cursin’ these same whites two years from now, nary feelin’ any better or makin’ any progress.”

Zachary shook his head again. “I’d rather be an angry man than a happy nigger.”

John Marcus took him by the shoulders and looked him square in the eye. “That’s because you don’t know what happy is because you’re too busy bein’ angry. I don’t like what’s happenin’ around me, but I know one thing. It’s not gonna change tomorrow. It’s gonna be the same next week. Probably even by Christmastime, I’m still gonna have the same color they have decided is less than ‘dem. But I know this–if I believe they’re wrong, then there’s a God in heaven who knows it, too. And He told me there ain’t nothin’ a man sows that he doesn’t eventually have to pull up out of the ground and reap, and eat. So I’m workin’ on what I sow. I’m quietly learnin’ more than they want me to, and there are things around this ‘ole fifty-three acres that nobody knows how to do but me. Because when it came time for doin’ it, I learned it. And they were completely happy with me bein’ the pack mule.”

Zachary interrupted. “So what? So you’re a smart nigger without ever being able to be called smart, and being able to take the smart and use it for yourself.”

“Maybe so. But every time I master something of service and I serve it well, I gain the attention of the master who controls this household and I make myself of great value. Just the other day, young boy, several of the farm hands who own the plantation just south of here had to come to me to find out how to fix their plowshare and what to do for an ailing mule. Did they appreciate it? See, it doesn’t make any difference. In that minute, they had to admit they needed me. Maybe they choked on it; maybe they refused to completely give in. But they needed me. My Master is Jesus, and he told me that the more I serve, the more territory I gain.”

Zachary just shook his head, but he returned to his labor with a bit more respect.

In March of 1861, John Marcus passed away. He was the only slave allowed to be buried in the far corner of the white cemetery. Many of the townsfolk turned out to see the old servant put to rest. He had made more friends than enemies and to the surprise of a young worker who had finally adopted his philosophy…

Yes.

Zachary was set free.

It was the last request made by a servant to a plantation owner … but granted because of the teachings of a greater Master. 

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Love this story!!! The truth that sets us FREE is simple and powerful. Thank you

    Like


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