Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God….” vs. 1Romans 1:1-7
Paul actually calls himself a “slave” of Jesus Christ, but since people are uncomfortable with that designation, translators have accommodated and usually substitute the word “servant.” But Paul meant “slave”! He considered himself to be owned, body and soul, by Jesus Christ, with a call to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Many of us are uncomfortable using that designation–we much prefer calling ourselves “followers” of Jesus. There is a difference. As followers or servants we think of Jesus as being our ethical and moral guide for living. We tell others that we walk in the way of Jesus–we follow his teachings as opposed to those of Confucius or the Buddha. Now obviously that’s not a bad thing, but that doesn’t come close to the dynamic involved in being a slave. Being a follower keeps Jesus at a distance, the rabbi from Nazareth who lived and taught centuries ago. To be a slave is to recognize Jesus as a present power in our lives, a master who is very much alive now, and not just as our guide but as our captain! It’s not so much remembering and following his teachings as it is recognizing his Spirit as a dynamic daily presence. Jesus owns us, as surely as he did Paul, and he has called us to go with the gospel into every corner of our daily lives.
Thought for the Day: Am I a follower or a slave of Jesus?