Serve Somebody

  • Randy Karlberg
Woman washing mans feet during wedding

Bob Dylan was a famous folk singer and songwriter in the sixties.  He was a popular musician when he had a spiritual encounter and told the world he had submitted to following Jesus Christ as his Savior.  And looking at the songs he wrote, he came up with some lyrics that had correct, spiritual content. Decades ago Bob Dylan wrote a song, “Gotta Serve Somebody.”  Some of the lyrics say, “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.”   Later in the song, the lyrics say, “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.”  Dylan was realizing that each person in the world will either serve the devil or the One True God.  But you will be serving someone! Jesus told us in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters.  For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.”  And Paul states in Roman 6:16, “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?”  

Sadly, Bob Dylan did not continue in his faith journey.  In fact, he has in more recent years backed away from his faith in Jesus.  It is said that he has dabbled in a few different religions.  I am not sure if he was looking to have Jesus on his terms or not?  But he accurately noted that each human being has to choose whom they will serve.  Service is a strong picture of what surrendering your will to Jesus means.  Remember in John 13 Jesus showed His disciples the example of serving one another by taking on the most undignified task of a lowly servant and washing His disciples’ feet.  He tells them and us, as disciples of Jesus, to do the same thing one to another and serve in the most humble way as He demonstrated.  

Last month I had the pleasure of attending my niece’s wedding.  In that ceremony, the bride and groom took the time to wash each other’s feet in front of their friends and family.  The reason for this is because they rightly understand that in marriage spouses are to serve each other and meet the needs of their spouse.  You are God’s gift to each other and He commands married people to serve their spouses.  When in marriage each spouse genuinely seeks to serve the other out of the love they have for Jesus Christ, marriage becomes a beautiful picture that depicts true intimacy. This concept is foreign in our culture as we see all around us the encouragement to make sure you get your needs and wants met.  The humble picture of washing another’s feet is a bold statement that you intend to serve this person even in the most humbling and difficult of times.    

While you have most likely not learned anything new from reading this blog, I am hoping that you are cajoled into looking at the relationships in your own life and ask yourself how you are doing at serving them?  Begin with those closest of relationships and ask how your humble servanthood is being accomplished?  Does the person even know that you are serving them?  Could it be that you need to step up your serving game and tie an apron around your waist?  Let me ask you an even more important question.  How are you doing in serving your Lord Jesus Christ?  Are you actively serving in the way He has called you to serve?  Or do you come up with the ideas of service that are acceptable to you and ask Him to bless your service to Him?  Genuine service does not need accolades or “atta-boys/girls!”  Remember you cannot serve yourself and serve God at the same time.  Service is not about us. Rather it is all about Jesus and our privilege to serve Him!  If you are like me, you need to tune out the voice in your head that screams “Make sure you take care of yourself!”  Instead, we should be listening to the gentle whisper in our head and heart that says “Just serve and don’t worry about it.  I will take care of you.  You can trust in me.”  

As you think of your life, your family, and your community, what would it look like if a person was to humbly serve without desiring anything in return?  The only thing that one is desiring to hear is “Well done, good and faithful servant!  Enter into the joy of your master!”  That is the day when we will begin to realize what a privileged blessing it is to be used as a servant of the One, True, Living God.