– a reflection by Rev. John Wilson, sent to our email list –
“The main difference between Christians and others is that we take God seriously and they do not. We really do believe that he is the central reality of all existence. We really do pay attention to what he is and what he does. We really do order our lives in response to that reality and not to some other…. One of the reasons that Christians read Scripture repeatedly and carefully is to find out just how God works in Jesus Christ so that we can order our lives around him and work in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Yesterday, a morning and an evening group met to study Paul’s letter to the Romans as translated by Eugene Peterson in The Message Bible. Both groups spent some time wrestling with the very first sentence: “I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ…” Devoted slave? When it comes to Jesus Christ, do you consider yourself to be his “devoted slave”? What an amazing idea! As my Christ, he rescues me; saves me; nourishes me; supports me; guides me… me… me… me… me. But the thought that I am his slave challenges that whole way of thinking. It’s not about ME.
As his slave, when I wake up in the morning I don’t say, “What do I want to do today.” I say, “What does he want me to do for him today.” As his slave, it’s not about what he can do for me; it’s about what I can do to serve him.
Or is it? Maybe Paul’s mistaken and has it all wrong. Is “slave” the wrong word? Too harsh? Paul doesn’t seem to think so. How would your life be different if you thought of yourself as Christ’s devoted slave?
There’s an old saying that goes like this; “If God is your co-pilot, better think about changing seats!” Who’s flying the plane? Who’s in charge of your life? Thinking about myself as his “devoted slave” leads me down a whole different path in my understanding of who Jesus is and how I relate to him. And maybe that’s just the new, eye-opening insight that I need to motivate me to take the next step in my spiritual growth.