Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

10 February 2014

Servants and slaves

Speaking of loving Jesus first and best, while we were on holidays we heard a really interesting sermon on the first six words of Romans.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus...

It included a bit of a discussion about slaves and servants because the word "servant" here really ought to be "slave."  Both words are fraught with difficulty - and I'm not looking to get into a debate about all of that here - but there is a helpful insight or two to be gained from stepping back for a moment and considering some definitions of sorts.

A servant can be hired and fired. 
A slave is bought and owned.  This has permanence.

Both can be treated poorly or well. So the terms themselves don't represent the spectrum of ill or good treatment.

Paul is a slave of Christ Jesus.  And so are all who love Jesus.  This helps me to understand the idea of "purchased with the blood of Christ" more deeply.  And the language of redemption.

And then we serve those around us.  But they cannot master us.  Because we can't serve two masters.

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