Serving God’s Way
“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
Bob Dylan famously sang…well…mumbled those words.
I imagine when many of his fans first heard the lyrics they were astounded by the thought provoking insight and power of the chorus. That’sBob the Sagethey thought.
As time passed it was probably shocking, maybe even disappointing for many of his followers to learn that conclusion was not original to Dylan. Thousands of years earlier Jesus States the proposition this way: “No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”(Matthew 6:24 NASB)
Eugene Peterson paraphrases that passage: “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money.”
Note the main them? The big idea. You aren’t given the choice of what position you will fill. While it is enticing to think that, “I am the captain of my ship; master of my fate,” that is not an option. The offer extended to you is not will you be the master of this or the master of that. The decision for you to make is, will you be the slave to one or will you be the slave to the other. You are self-deceived to imagine you will ever be anybody but a servant. You are not the one being served but the one serving.
As you contemplate the choice and the implications of that decision,a role model would be useful. I introduce to you the Apostle Paul. Like you,Paul was required to make the same tough decision. He reveals his decision to us. Repeatedly Paul identifies himself as a slave (bond servant) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Check it out for yourself. You find his declaration in Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:1. Confident that he had made the right decision, Paul then encourages us to imitate him. Literarily to follow in his footsteps. Paul invites us to follow him as he follows Christ, who declared, “I did not come to be served but, to serve, and to give my life a ransom for many.”Mark 10:45
As you serve someone you assume their agenda. That’s the job description of a slave. My friend Larry Wright used to say it this way. “As Christians,our job title is impressive: Ambassador. Our job description, not so impressive: slave.” This reality has huge implications for how you live your life.
If we are enslaved to Jesus, we need to know what is important to Him.What was Jesus’ agenda? Perhaps it might be valuable to first note what was not on His agenda. He was not here to be happy. He was not here to look out for Himself. He was not here to advance a political platform. He was not here to be successful by the world’s standards. Wow, He didn’t come in pursuit of the American Dream. That’s right, He came to advance His kingdom. To seek and save the lost. To proclaim the gospel. To care for people, especially the hurting. To obey the Fathers’ will. To reach out to all people.
The bottom line, what matters to God and,therefore,should also matter to us are Lost people, His people,and His Word. As we make decisions about investing our time, energy, effort, and money serving His agenda becomes our “investment advisor.”
“Talk” again soon.