Sin, Salvation, and Servitude

The Bible tells us far more about what it means to be human than what it means to be God. We learn from Job that we want answers.  We aren’t particularly thrilled with coming up against our limits. This hasn’t changed much since Job’s time.We wantnt to know why things happen the way they do. We want to understand the universe, our world, and our place in it

From the sons of Zebedee we learn that there is a very human drive for power and glory. They wanted to prove that they were the best of Jesus’ disciples. They wanted a promotion. I’m not so sure they had any idea what that might cost them. At the time they were willing to risk sh

aring in a drink from Jesus’ cup and wading into his baptismal waters, but I doubt they were ready for what Jesus said next. Then, as now, no one aspired to be a servant or a slave.

If servitude is really what Jesus ransomed us for, do we still want to be

Christians? Jesus was very clear when he told his disciples that the greatest among them must become a servant, a slave, to all the others. Moreover, he said that he did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. He gave his life to free us from our selfish desires that we might serve others. Did James and John get that? Did the other ten? Do we?

It is so much easier to sit with Job than it is to walk with Jesus. I’d much rather ask why there is polio in Pakistan, starvation in Sudan, war

in Syria, homelessness on the corner of my street, or pain in my life than contemplate the responsibility that comes with salvation. Job got a reminder that he is not God. James and John found out that there is a good bit of discomfort that comes with discipleship. I’m not so sure I want either.

I know I’m not God. I don’t have to understand all things and that there are a lot of why-questions with impossible answers. While I am not fon

d of human fragility and finitude, I can accept it most days. And, well, I am kind of like James and John; I want recognition for what I do at least some of the time. Also, the possibility of a link between salvation and servitude is one that makes me question how much I get in Jesus’ way these days. There are limits to my willingness to serve even within my ability to do so. This thought makes me decidedly uncomfortable.

It is time to stop asking the why questions. God must be really tired of those. How might I be of service?

Won’t you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you? Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.  –Richard Gillard

RCL – Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost – October 21, 2012

Series 1:
Job 38:1-7, (34-41)
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c
Series 2:
Isaiah 53:4-12
Psalm 91:9-16
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

photo from


About rachaelkeefe

Hi. I am a pastor, an author, a painter, and a poet. My latest book is available now to order from Chalice Press, The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention (
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