No I’m not saying what you think. I’m not saying I agree with men holding other men as slaves, and I’m not embracing anything to do with the slave trade. This, in fact, has nothing to do with the domination of humans by humans. This has to do with a different type of slavery. I was recently reading the beginning of Romans, and it starts out nearly the same as every book in the New Testament. Romans was a letter from Paul , who was chosen to be an apostle, and was sent out to preach the Good News of Christ Jesus. Many of us have read the beginnings of books only at a glance, not thinking too much about what they say, ready to get into the meat of the story. In fact, I usually do this as well, but tonight was different.
Between where it says this was a letter from Paul, and that he was an apostle of Christ, I noticed something. Another sentence that has never really registered with me before now, where it states that Paul was a slave of Christ Jesus. A slave. I don’t know about you, but when I think of slavery, the civil war comes to mind, as well as the Jews in Egypt, as well as entire ugly history that slavery has created in this country and in the world. To be labeled as a slave has become one of the most degrading labels. A slave is a man with no rights and no freedoms, and no one wants to be that.
When I read the first verse of Romans, however, the word slave transforms into one of the most beautiful words I could imagine. To be called a slave in this sense would be the biggest compliment any of us would ever receive. Slaves live entirely for their masters, and our master is Christ! This is why I feel we need to embrace slavery! We need to embrace the dependence the slave has for his master. We need to embrace the selflessness of this relationship. Paul, widely known as one of the greatest preachers of the new Christian faith, was a slave. He did nothing for the benefit of himself, because he believed that only God knew what he could benefit from! He lived completely and entirely for Christ, and it didn’t lead him through an easy life. Paul was put into prison for this faith, and remained a prisoner for many years. He was shunned by his own people, and was the target of multiple assassination attempts. He was tortured to death and beheaded. Another apostle, Andrew, was crucified on an X-shaped cross. As Andrew was led to the cross, his followers reported him saluting the cross by saying, “I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.” He then continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died. Tell me this wasn’t a man fulfilled by his Master’s assignment, even as death approached.
Being a slave isn’t easy, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. But Paul, Andrew, and the other apostles of Christ were so captivated by their Master and had such faith in Him that they would do anything be it for God’s glory. Don’t be a slave to men, or whatever it is that might be holding you captive in this world, but be a slave to God, who is perfect and flawless. Trust that He will guide you along the right path, and don’t worry about anything else. Focus on the task He sets before you, and live to satisfy the duties He has set aside for you. We’re all on this earth for His purpose, and He’ll satisfy us in ways we’ve never imagined possible before He was with us. Embrace slavery, and He will lead.
“But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
-Romans 6:22-23 (NLT)