This is a story about a man named Shack Led…
It is not original with me; I am just writing as I remember it from a conference several years ago…
Shack lived in a lush valley that was surrounded by mountains and a river ran through the valley which supplied his crops with plenty of water. The soil was rich and grew some amazing crops each year. He also had a herd of healthy cows which produced an abundance of milk.
Shack would sit back some days and admire his accomplishments through all his hard work. He worked extremely hard, harder than necessary, because you see, Shack had these balls & chains that were on his arms and legs and he assumed it was normal.
Each morning when Shack awoke, he would take these balls & chains that were on his arms and legs and tie them up so that they would not drag or get caught while he worked.
One day a Man wondered into the valley and asked, “Shack, may I be your farm hand?”
Shack responded, “Well now, I really don’t need anyone to help me, you see, I can manage just fine.”
The man stood there for a minute, then replied, “See I enjoy helping people and do so without pay.”
“Ok, you may help me as long as you care too, food and lodging are free.” Replied Shack.
They worked together for a few days, when Shack noticed that The Man did not have balls & chains on his arms or legs. So Shack asked him, “I’ve noticed that you do not have shackles on your legs and arms. I wonder what that would be like, to not have shackles?”
So, The Man asked Shack, “Do you want to get rid of your shackles?”
Shack nodded rather sheepishly and said, “I didn’t know I could be free from them.”
The Man looked at Shack and said, “The right leg shackle has Shame inscribed on it, you don’t need to be carrying Shame around any longer. Would you like to get rid of Shame?”
“Yes indeed,” declared Shack
Immediately The Man pulled out a sword and with a swift strike he cut off the Shackle called Shame. Shack jumped up and ran around swinging his right leg freely and declared, “This is FREEDOM!”
Several days went by and Shack got to thinking, he pondered what it would be like to have his left leg shackle off. Now the left leg shackle had the inscription IMMORAL on it. So, he asked The Man, “Could you cut the left leg shackle off?”
The Man responded, “Of course,” and immediately pulled out his sword and sliced the left leg shackle off with ease.
“Wowzers,” Shack yelled, “I can run free!”
As Shack worked the next several days, he started pondering the thought that just maybe The Man could cut off his arm shackles too. The left arm was inscribed with the name Fear and the right arm shackle bore the name Control. Then he thought, “I could really, truly be free!”
So the next day, Shack asked The Man, “Hey, would you be so kind as to cut off my arm shackles too?”
“Sure thing,” replied The Man. And he pulled out his sword and severed both arm shackles with one smooth swing.
“I am FREE,” exclaimed Shack, “Truly Free Indeed!”
Shack worked a few days in his newfound freedom. But he soon realized that he knew of many people in town that walked around everyday with shackles on, some bigger, some smaller than the ones he used to have.
So, Shack decided to ask The Man, “Could I have a sword like you have?”
The Man responded with a joyous “Yes” and handed Shack a sword.
Shack was so excited, he scrambled around to finish chores and headed into town with his newly acclaimed sword. As he neared the center of town, he saw a man with shackles and he ran up to him all excited, “Sir, let me cut them shackles off of you!” The man jumped back as Shack swung the sword and he missed the shackle but cut off the man’s arm!
“Oh, no” declared Shack, as he turned and went after the next person he noticed with shackles on. Each time he desperately wanted to set these people free but he kept cutting their limbs off in his excitement to free them!
Finally, after much blood was shed, Shack was terribly saddened that people did not want their shackles cut off, and that they were mad at him for suggesting he should cut them off. He also could not believe how many people he wounded, but he thought to himself, “They deserve to be wounded for not letting me set them free from their shackles!” So, with this going through his mind, he headed back to his valley with sword dragging, head hung low, and heart full of sadness.
As he reached his front porch, The Man was sitting in a rocking chair, slowly rocking. He looked up to see Shack, all bloodied, sad, discouraged, and confused. The Man asked Shack, “What happened today?”
Shack explained how people would not stand for him cutting their shackles off, how he hurt many people by severing their limbs, and how they rejected him and his sword.
The Man looked at Shack with lots of love and compassion in His eyes and reached out and gave him a hug, then kindly took the sword from Shack and said, “Shack, this is a hard lesson, but until you learn to love people with their shackles on, you will not be able to handle this sword. I will give it back to you when you learn to love those that are shackled.”
The Man = Jesus & Shack = You
Dwayne Sensenig for
Arrows of Truth Ministry