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‘Servants’ for life

27 April 2023 ‘Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle.’ Romans 1:1 NASB

In the Bible the word ‘minister’ isn’t just a noun (which indicates a person, place, or thing); it’s also a verb (an action word). It’s what you do, not just what you claim to be. In Scripture, the word ‘servant’ sometimes referred to a third-level galley slave chained to the oar of a Roman ship. Day and night, they rowed to the beat of another, and whether in battle or in merchant service, they expected to die chained to that oar. The difference for us is that we have a kind and compassionate God as our master, who doesn’t force us to serve Him. Paul says, ‘Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God…Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable’ (Romans 12:1 NLT). Paul had no doubt about what God had called him to be. When he referred to himself as a ‘bond-servant’, he was describing a slave who served his master faithfully for six years. In the seventh year, the law of Moses required that the slave be set free. But if, when he was released, he came back and said, ‘Master, I’m not serving you because I have to; I’m serving you because I want to,’ his master would take him before a magistrate and pierce his ear, signifying that he belonged to him forever (see Exodus 21:6). Sometimes we need to look up and say: ‘Lord, I’m not serving you because I have to; I’m serving you because I love you. Mark me as yours. Bond me with you so I can never belong to anyone else.’ 

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