Enslaved. Pain. Fear. Beaten so hard that a traumatic brain injury resulted. Disabling seizures and headaches will remain throughout the rest of her life. A slave. Owned by many. Born into a life that was never wanted. These are things that this week’s woman of courage had to endure. She is Harriet Tubman.
After twenty-nine years of living the life of a slave, Harriet was able to escape from the oppression. Can you imagine the freedom she felt? She got away from it all without being caught. I’m sure she felt a huge sense of release and peace. Harriet had a whole new way to life laid out before her, one of complete freedom. It’s hard to imagine feeling what she felt because most of us will never live under that kind of enslavement.
What is remarkable to me about Harriet’s life is that not long after she escaped to freedom, she put her life in danger to give others that same chance at freedom. Slowly, one group at a time, Tubman went back to rescue relatives at first. That soon turned into dozens of other slaves, not even relatives, becoming free, most for the first time in their lives. What a courageous woman.
What I love about this component of Harriet’s life is that in her, the heart of Christ is so evident. Harriet described herself as a devout Christian. Through what she did I am reminded of Christ’s attitude and action for all of us. Matthew 20:26- 28 says this:
“Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.” The Message
In her attempt to truly serve others, she put her life at great risk when she didn’t have to. She could have gone on, living her new life of freedom. After all, she deserved it. No one probably ever expected to see her show up again, especially for their sake and not her own. Christ did the same thing when he came back to rescue all of us; he didn’t have to, but he did. I am also reminded of Philippians 2 when reflecting on Harriet’s life. It says:
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
So, as you read this and reflect on the life of Harriet Tubman, I encourage you to reflect on your own life. Is there someone in your life that God is asking you to serve? Truly serving someone often comes with a sacrifice, however great or small. Maybe God is asking you to give up some of your time or your resources (like money for example). I encourage you to take time and be with God and ask Him if there is someone you can serve this week. If He is asking you to, do it, and may the heart of Christ be seen in your acts of service.
– Amy Englund