We Need a Redeemer
One of my favorite names for Jesus is Redeemer. The title has significant meaning. It comes from the word redeem which means to buy back or pay off, as in paying off a debt. A redeemer therefore is one who pays off a debt for someone else – a debt the redeemer does not owe, but a debt owed by the one who is redeemed.
The very familiar story of Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, is one that comes to mind when we talk about a redeemer. When Naomi returned to her home from Moab to Bethlehem along with her faithful daughter-in-law, Ruth, they were alone with no means of support. Their husbands had died in Moab. Naomi decided to return to a familiar place where she hoped life would be easier for a couple of widows. Ruth began to glean in the fields, searching for grain, that the two ladies might have enough to eat. Ruth caught the eye of Boaz, a kinsman of Naomi’s husband. It was his field where Ruth searched for grain that had been overlooked at harvest. The fourth chapter of the book of Ruth tells us that Boaz stepped in (and stepped up) and accepted the responsibility for caring for the two women, assuming the position of kinsman redeemer. He took Ruth as his wife. The women of the town said to Naomi, “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today and may his name become famous in Israel. May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age…” The story uses that wonderful title “redeemer” in referring to Boaz, but as we know, Boaz was, in fact, a picture of a redeemer to come, one who would redeem all who would call on his name and make him Lord of their lives.
When I was a kid, growing up in south Amarillo, my buddy, Dennis, and I used to prowl the neighborhood, including the alleys, looking for “coke” bottles (coke being a generic word for any type of soda pop). In that day, coke bottles were made of glass. I’m not sure if you could even buy a coke in an aluminum can when I was 12 years old. Those glass bottles were embossed with the word “redeemable” on the bottom. Redeemable meant that the bottle could be returned to the grocery store and the cashier at the store would give us four cents for each bottle. If we could find 10 empty bottles (each) and redeem them for 40 cents, we had enough money to buy a coke float at the fountain at the D&S Drug Store next door. Or, 40 cents would buy three candy bars, pay the tax and have a little left over. Life was good.
But, about those old, empty coke bottles – you see, they were filthy. Many of them had a few cigarette butts in them or dead bugs that had crawled in there to sip up the last few drops of sweetness that was left in the bottle. The outsides were covered with dry dirt that was once mud. We had to dig through some trash to find them. In that day, there were no dumpsters; there were old 55 gallon barrels with the tops cut out of them for trash cans in all of the alleys. We would dig through those barrels as deep as our arms would reach looking for coke bottles. We got nasty, but when we were sipping on that root beer float at the D&S, it was worth it.
We had redeemed those old, dirty bottles. They were worth something (albeit not much), but only if someone would take the time to redeem them, then someone else would clean them up (sterilize them no doubt) and refill them with the goodness that they were designed for.
At some point in my life I realized that I was a whole lot like one of those old filthy coke bottles. I was living in the alley, covered with muck, filled with old dead bugs or cigarette butts. I knew I needed a redeemer. Then came The Redeemer, the one who paid a price to ransom my lost soul. The cleaning up process for a Christian is called sanctification and as long as we live on this earth, it will be going on continuously. By the grace of God, we who know Him are the redeemed. One day we will become what we were meant to be, what we were designed for, to fellowship with and worship the Living God forever.
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that He might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5).
An old familiar hymn says, “for I have been redeemed, I will glory in my Savior’s name”.
Mike grew up in a Christian home in Amarillo. He came to faith in Christ as a 12 year old boy at South Lawn Baptist Church in Amarillo. He attended college at Wayland Baptist University where he met and married his wife, Kathie. As a young couple, they dedicated their home to Christ early in their marriage. On graduation from Wayland, they traveled to Perth, Western Australia. Kathie taught high school science in a Perth suburb; Mike worked as a wildlife biologist for the Museum of Western Australia. They lived in Australia just short of two years. During that time they attended South Perth Baptist Church. To this day, they still communicate with several Christian people whom they knew in the church in Australia including the pastor of the church.
On returning to the US, they made their new home for almost 10 years at Hale Center, Texas, Kathie’s home town. Mike’s first teaching job was at Hale Center High School where he taught science. Mike also taught at Perryton High School. He has served as school principal at Lefors ISD and at Canadian High School. He served as superintendent of schools at Olton ISD and retired from the superintendent’s position at Perryton ISD in 2010 when they moved to a home southwest of Amarillo and began attending and joined First Baptist Church of Canyon. During all of those years in all of the places they lived, they were active members of their churches.
Mike and Kathie have three children; Matt, A and Rebekah, all of whom are active, growing Christians and who are married to active, growing Christians. All of their children and their spouses are engaged in Christian ministry in some way. They have ten grandchildren who are the joy of their lives.