You Gotta Serve Somebody

One of my favorite song-writers is Bob Dylan. I really dig people who are able to look at the world around them and produce art that conveys to a broad audience the realities they observe. I think Dylan does it well.

Bob Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman and was raised in the Jewish tradition. During the late 1970s he had a conversion experience and began to confess himself has a Christian. I’m not sure where he stands today on the issue of Jesus, but during his “Christian” period he wrote a few songs that captured some keen observations on the nature of man in this present world. One of my favorites is, “You Gotta Serve Somebody”.  The chorus proclaims:

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

This song is great because it reveals one the key facets of the human existence. We are all slaves!

Now if you are like me, you really would not identify yourself as a slave. At first hearing its almost offensive, however, the Bible is filled language that more than suggests that we are slaves.

Here are a few examples:

Romans 6:16-18 (ESV)

16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.



Colossians 4:1(ESV)

4 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. 

Matthew 6:24 (ESV)
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 

John 8:34 (ESV)
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

Again I have never really thought to much about my relationship with God as being one of a master and a slave, but as i meditate on it, viewing it from this perspective is helpful. It is helpful because it reminds me that this story isn’t really about me. It is easy for me to demand that God serve me and my purposes when the reality is that He created me, chose me, and saved me for His purposes.

So what’s the take-away?

For me it is the realization that not only should I call God, Lord and Father, but I need to also call Him master. I need to practice humble submission to His requests and desires. I need to lose my own self-interest and embrace His interests because ultimately I am slave bought with a price for His glory! It is in this reality that I need to live and it is through this lens I need to observe humanity.

I mean its like Bobby said, “well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but your gonna have to serve somebody”!

How about you? Are you a slave to the devil or a slave to the Lord?

Who is your story about?

Grace and Peace,

Tony