You Gotta Serve Somebody

 
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”

Romans 6:16

 
What is that singer and songwriter Bob Dylan understood that so many people today don’t get when he wrote the hit song titled, “You Gotta Serve Somebody”. The song captures the thought well that no man is an island and everybody really does serve somebody. The apostle Paul makes clear in Romans 6 we might not have a choice in serving but we do have a choice in whom we serve. Bob Dylan paints a picture with words that the choices in serving are as varied as each person since no two people are alike. Read the lyrics to the song to Dylans song.

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

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

You might be a rock 'n' roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high-degree thief
They may call you doctor or they may call you chief

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
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

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
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

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
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

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin' in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody's mistress, may be somebody's heir

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
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

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

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

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

Still, you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
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. (Song ends)


The apostle Paul reminds us that we are never more free than when we have died to ourselves and were made alive to God, byproducts of a choice we made to serve Jesus Christ our Lord. Read slowly the words of the apostle Paul that he penned in Romans chapter 6:4-23, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”

There is an old expression, “Dead men (or women) don’t have feelings”. Its true, once we have died we are free from temptation, free from sin. The good news the apostle Paul presents in Romans 6 is we don’t have to wait until we die to die to ourselves and serve somebody who will set us free from the bondage of self-service. Read on in Romans 6,

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul is pointing out that we mankind can “die once and live twice” or “live once and die twice” speaking of the choice we each make to die to ourselves and live to Jesus and really start living now, (see John 10:10) this side of heaven free from the bondage of sin only to enjoy life even more fully (living twice) when we step into eternity one day and meet our Savior face to face. Or, we can choose to be self serving in this life and remain in sin and death until we die then be judged by God and found guilty unto eternal damnation, (the second death). Paul gives us a great motivation to serve Jesus Christ our Lord as he goes on in Romans 6,  

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”

It’s as if the apostle Paul himself is singing, “you gotta serve somebody”. The choice is ours to make. Keep reading Romans 6,

“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.”

Paul is echoing what Jesus Himself declared, “the truth you shall know and the truth shall set you free.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ sets people free! Romans 6 just gets better the more you read it,


“And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”

When we served anything or anyone other than God our bondage only became more severe and our freedoms diminished until there were none. Romans 6 comes to a close reminding us,  


“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Salvation cant be earned, it can only be received. Works play no role in our salvation, they are merely the fruit of our salvation. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing to please God, but in and through Jesus we can please God in everything we put our hands to do because what we are doing now is serving a loving God who leads us and guides us in the way of everlasting life as we follow Him. Yes, loved one, you gotta serve somebody. Serve somebody who came to set the captives free! Serve Jesus!


“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:15


I LOVE YOU!

Michael Osthimer

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