Sarafina is a movie that chronicles the plight of schoolchildren in South Africa under a government declared state of emergency that was instituted in 1976 in response to the Soweto Riots. This state of emergency lasted for thirteen years until 1989. During this time, 10,000 schoolchildren were imprisoned and 750 were put to death.
Sarafina is the name of the movie’s central character. She is a teenage girl struggling to survive and come of age in a cruel and oppressive society. At one point, she is talking with the teacher who is her mentor and role model. Her teacher asks her what she wants. Sarafina doesn’t have to think about her answer. She wants to be free—free from violence, anger, injustice, and oppression. Her teacher tells her, “Freedom is just the beginning, think bigger.”
Think bigger. These were wise words for Sarafina and they are wise words for those who are followers of Jesus. In a culture fixated with freedom, where our speech is laced with my way, my rights, and my lawyer, the people of Jesus need to stand for something higher—because freedom is just the beginning.
Paul reminded the Galatians that they had been called to freedom (5:13), but they were to make sure they didn’t use their freedom in an unwise way. We too must be diligent to make sure that the freedom we have in Christ doesn’t become a (dead) end in itself by merely serving as a launching pad for self-indulgence. If we’ll think bigger, we’ll understand that the real purpose of our freedom is to put us in position to be the servant of all.