July 24, 2007

crassus

I am currently reading the book titled, Not Even a Hint, by Josh Harris. It is a book that I have wanted to read for a long time, but kept putting it off in favor of other books on my reading list. I finally picked it up the other day and dove in. I am only through the first three chapters, and it has been good so far. I am sure that I will give a quick review of this book when I am done with it, but I read something today that I wanted to share with you. It isn't anything profound, but I thought that it was interesting and blog worthy.

I once read the true story of a duke named Raynald III, who lived during the fourteenth century. His sad life illustrates how giving in to our lustful desires -- the very thing we often equate with freedom -- actually robs us of freedom and true joy.

Raynald III had lived a life of indulgence and was extremely overweight. In fact, he was commonly called by his latin nickname, Crassus, which means "fat."

After a violent quarrel, Raynald's younger brother, Edward, led a successful revolt against him. Edward captured Raynald but did not kill him. Instead he built a room around him in the Nieuwkerk Castle and promised him he could regain his freedom as soon as he was able to leave the room.

This wouldn't have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of near-normal size, and none was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald's size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent him a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way to freedom, Raynald grew fatter. He stayed in the room for ten years, till his brother died in battle. But by then his health was so ruined that he died within a year -- a prisoner of his own appetite.

Many men and women today are prisoners to their appetite for lust. Like Raynald, they look free, maybe eve happy. They're doing what they want. They're doing what feels good. But the sad truth is that every bite of lust's delicacies only makes them more of a prisoner. When we indulge in a life of sin and do whatever feels good, we're not free. We're slaves to our sin.
I just thought that was a really interesting, yet sad, story. It illustrates the point that Harris was trying to make rather well, but it also got me to thinking about this guy Raynald. What a tragedy to be known for your lack of ability to get out of your prison cell because you don't have enough self-control to stop eating. I know that I have some trouble saying no to a Big Mac, so I am not being judgmental towards him. It just seemed so sad.

It got me to thinking about what we are known for. When people see us, what do they think? When your name comes up in a conversation, what do people say about you? I doubt that I will be remembered for anything when I am gone, but if I am, I hope that, by God's grace, they won't remember me, but will remember how Christ has worked in me.