WHO ARE YOU SERVING?
Ever-present God, you walk with me through good times and bad. Your footsteps are my guide. Your hands are my support. I thank you Lord
Read COLOSSIANS 3:18 – 4:1
Instructions for Christian Households
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers,[a] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.
4 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
- Colossians 3:21 Or Parents
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow are your relationships going? A source of joy or pain? Bring the names and faces of those you love (or need to love) before our Father now.
Bob Dylan famously wrote, ‘You gotta serve somebody. It might be the Devil or it might be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody.’* His point was that we do not live independently. We are all connected and are made to be in intimate relationships. In Western cultures, we deeply struggle with this challenge as we value individual freedom and happiness above family, community and obligation. We are strong on ‘rights’ and light on ‘duties’.
This passage was written to real people about two thousand years ago. It is tempting to read it through our modern context and make some shaky assumptions about its intent. Paul is not affirming slavery. He is not reinforcing patriarchy. He is illustrating his point from verse 15 in real-life situations. It is too easy for us to gloss over the radical nature of the commands to men in verses 3:19,21 and 4:1. Paul is seeking to bring love and peace into relationships easily characterized by power and abuse.
We are all servants of our Lord and God. We may temporarily occupy roles that bring authority. They do not define us. See John 13:1-17 for how Jesus teaches his disciples to exercise authority. It involves a towel and wash basin.
‘It is the Lord Christ you are serving’ (v 24). How does that truth change everything about your life and work?
Heavenly Father, the world is always trying to squeeze me into its mold. I pray that I will always be molded by your hand, living carefully and wisely for you.
*Bob Dylan, ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’, 1979, Columbia Records
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