“19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all,
that I might win the more.”
1 Cor. 9:19
The Heart of a Slave
Are you a slave? We may feel as though we are slaves to many things, our work, lifestyle or debt. I know many housewives who feel they are slaves to their routines, and many employees who feel as slaves to their jobs. Yet, we really aren’t slaves, are we? In all of these, at the end of the day, we have a choice to change, to walk away, if we so desire. A true slave has no choice in the matter, and Christians, though we are free in Christ, truly have no choice but to serve others, if we are to be His disciples.
Supposedly, real slavery was abolished in the U.S. many years ago. However, we know that even today human slavery through sex trafficking and forced labor are harsh, evil realities in much of the world, and we should do all we can to stop such slavery. Those realities, along with the fierce independence of the American spirit, make slavery one of the most difficult images of the Christian life for people to grasp. Yet, slavery, is the true life of a Christian
Slavery, is the image St. Paul most often uses to describe his life as a follower of Jesus. He speaks not only of being a slave to Christ, but also a slave to humanity. Most believers can understand the image of Jesus as a Slave Master, because we know He is a loving master, who bought us with the price of His blood. But, slaves to humanity? That’s more difficult for people to swallow. Yet, to serve others without regard to whether we respect them or feel we should, is precisely the life Paul speaks of to the Corinthians.
The great Apostle didn’t take his leadership position for granted. He chose to make himself a “slave to all”, that his ministry of serving might win people to Christ. One of the things we focus on in Lent is the discipline of almsgiving, which when properly understood means more than giving of monies to the poor, but even works of mercy towards them. To serve others with no regard to position or status (to be a slave) is the example of Jesus, given for us to follow.
Are you a slave? Do you identify with the idea of making yourself a slave to others? And, not just to others you like, but as Paul says, “to all”. If not, then spend some time today praying for God to give you the heart of a slave. As Christians, we really don’t have a choice. We must serve others. Ask God to show you how to serve others so that they might see His love through your service. Serving others is the highest form of Christian love. When bend low to serve the needs of others, it is then that God raises us from the ashes.
Grace & Peace for a Holy Lent,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”