1 “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:”
Paul’s use of the word “Bondservant” always has a huge impact on me. Literally this word means Slave, someone in chains, serving his or her master without question. We have a pretty good understanding of what the word “slave” means here in our country. In fact, a large part of our country was built by slave labor. Most great civilizations were built by those in Slavery, including Egypt, Rome, and Greece. Being a Slave for another human is degrading, miserable, and humiliating. All dignity as a person is stripped away. In ancient days, the Hebrews retained slaves from war, or indenture. They were told by God however, that their slaves were to be treated well. In fact, if they had slaves whose debt was not paid back in 7 years time, the owners were to free them. Moreover, there was another provision which stated that if the owner was extremely kind and generous to the slave and treated them like family instead of property, the slave could choose to stay and be taken in as a permanent servant. It was a volunteer act that the bondservant could choose. Forever slave, to the master that took care of his servant.
Paul, a rich scholar and Pharisee, called into the ministry in a unique way by Jesus Christ, counted all he had as rubbish compared to the glorious service to Jesus. He chose a life of a bondservant. He chose to turn his back on the things that were pulling him away from a relationship with God. He chose to follow the Master, to whatever end, because he knew that Christ had died for him and had given him eternal life. Paul chose to serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords as a slave, not forced or coerced, but rather willingly and voluntarily.
For Paul there was no need to turn back, to contemplate, or to question his own decision. It was an easy choice for him to serve Jesus, to consider himself a “bondservant” for Jesus made him whole. Once Jesus touched Paul’s life, it made him a man who had the noble purpose of sharing this “Good-news” to the world. Paul knew that his life was going to be full of sacrifices and pain, but that did not matter. All that mattered was the fact that he was serving his King!
Who do you serve today? You know we all serve something or someone; work, kids, money, lust, family, sports, etc. Jesus gives us Life and a relationship with the Creator, God Almighty… All he asks you for is your service to Him. God is not looking for part-time Christians, those who serve Him on Sundays, when things are going well, when things are going bad, or when you feel you can give just a little of your time. No, He is looking for people to be fully committed to serving the King. Being a “Bondservant” is a full-time, sold-out, commitment to something greater than ourselves.
Joshua 24:1515 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”