Colossians 3:23-24

 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Paul writes the above passage addressed to bond-servants. The Greek word is Doulos which is translated as slave or servant in various writings. The word bond-servant is more appropriate as it relates to those who are under the authority of an earthly master whether as a paid laborer or an indenture servant.

In Christ’ time it is estimated that 1/3 of the population were slaves and another 1/3 were slaves at one time but became free later in life. So, when Jesus spoke about the greatest being a servant for all rather than lording over people, HE was stretching the cultural norms of the day. In fact, Paul and other church leaders including Jesus’ brothers James and Judas likewise acknowledged in their writings they were bond-servants to Jesus.

So as Christ-followers, we have chosen to become bond-servants of HIS. We have accepted the position to be ultimately held accountable by HIM. Though meanwhile we also have earthly associates to hold us accountable. Though they may not be perfect like our Lord, and may not even know our Lord, and may even be against our Lord, we accept their authority in our life to maintain law and order in the land. However, if they require us doing something against the authority of our Lord, then we defer to HIM first and accept the consequences of the matter.

Our reward comes from Jesus. He is our Lord, and we are citizens of HIS Kingdom. Paul writes elsewhere that you and I are only ambassadors in a foreign land. Whoever opposes us on Christ’s behalf, opposes HIM and will reap the consequences of their decision.      

Meanwhile, we are all accountable to someone in this life. Whether our mates, parents, friends, employers, clients, HOA’s, or governments, there is someone we are answerable too. Even the hermit living alone is still accountable to some authority in their world. For example, the land they reside on is under some governmental jurisdiction. Without accountability, we are left alone with our human tenancies which eventually will lead to ugly and destructive consequences. Most human-to-human destructive actions are the result of human leaders left alone without accountability for their actions. Any person without a stronger accountability source is playing god without the innate character to manage the situation.

As a Christ-follower, we have a proven leader who conquered his human desires, established a government which allows all to flourish in freedom, and paved the way for all to participate. Our highest priority is to first serve HIM and introduce others to HIM. Our reward is from HIM. In every situation, we first seek HIS will. Whenever we fail HIM, HE disciplines us. But HE also showers HIS grace upon us and restores us in HIM. We serve HIM in all matters, even when we hold ourselves accountable to others.  

Count it all joy to have an accountability partner or group who helps you through the maze of life.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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Governmental Trap

1 Samuel 8:7, 10-18

 And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them…So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Governments are ultimately accountable to God (Romans 13:1). Christ-Followers are subject to governmental institutions per Peter’s letter to the Church (I Peter 2:13). When he wrote the letter, the emperor was a dictator ruling Rome. Yet Peter instructed the Church to enjoy their freedom to do good and put to shame the ignorance of foolish people. Christ-followers should be the most favorable citizens of a free world.

Yet governments are led by people. And people have the tendencies for corrupt behavior. As governments grow, corruption becomes more and more difficult to identify.

Back when Israel was a tiny nation being self-governed by the decree of one person (Samuel), the people enjoyed freedom and prosperity. However, when they complained that they wanted to be like the other nations around them with a King and his cohorts managing national affairs, God adhered to their request. But before then, HE instructed Samuel to outline the consequences of their decision.

Today’s Scripture shows what happens when one exchanges their personal responsibilities to a governmental body and how their individual freedom and prosperity dissipates. There is nothing new under the sun but technology and fashion. Governments have always existed in one form or another. But like Israel discovered, it was better for the people with less government and the acceptance of more personal responsibility rather than paying the price for a large overseeing body to manage national affairs.

The governmental trap is thinking the institution can do a better job than the collective individual who has personal investment in the outcome.

When the country’s workforce supports an incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy, it is only a matter of time for the nation to collapse.

Moral fiber is the glue that keeps relationships ongoing. When governmental distrust and bullying becomes the norm, than a revolution is waiting to occur. People will only tolerate mistreatment for a while. Then it gets ugly.

Personal freedom requires accepting personal responsibility for the outcome. Governments promise utopia and operate from a position of fear. Those who have found a leader in Jesus Christ as their King understand the difference between serving others or lording over others. Serving others is God’s way of leading. Lording over others is man’s inferior attempt to play god.

Allow God’s Kingdom to rule from your heart and set the boundaries of your actions and relationships and watch how your little world flourishes while those around you are burning with hatred and anger. God’s government is what we all need. But you first need to make the decision of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord in your life. When you do, and begin to imitate HIM and HIS ways, you will discover the difference between human governmental power and God’s gracious acts of justice, mercy, and forgiveness to engage people into a world that flourishes with freedom and fulfillment for all.

More God, less government is a better form of governance for all.  

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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The Last Grape Tomato

John 6:27

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

I enjoy eating grape tomatoes. Most days I eat about ½ dozen of them with eggs in the morning and then again in the evening with a salad. So, when I woke up this morning, for whatever reason, the first thought in my head was, “when will I eat my last grape tomato?

Now I’m not sure what I was dreaming about when sleep was interrupted, but as an inexperienced amateur psychologist, I’m sure it must have been a correlation between grape tomatoes and the end of life.

For life as we know in this body will come to an end. And when life in this age ends, everything we may have enjoyed will likewise end. And that includes me eating the last grape tomato.

Yet, the Spirit that lives in us will continue. How do I know? Because Jesus exemplified the same when he died and committed his Spirit to HIS Father in heaven. And just like he was resurrected into a new body, I await for the same resurrection and new body to begin the next chapter and adventure with our Perfect Father and Elder Brother.

Meanwhile, I get to taste heavenly samples of God’s food today. Just like I enjoy the taste and nutritional value of grape tomatoes, I also now participate and enjoy the spiritual nourishment of eternal food.

For example, take God’s love which HE showers upon us daily. His love surrounds us through HIS creation. When like minded people with HIS Spirit touch our spirit, there is the fellowship and comradeship which enlightens the fire within us. Plus, God’s love being manifested through HIS constant grace granting us favor at times of need is a reminder HE truly cares for each of us. The assurance of HIS faithfulness and commitment that HE will complete the work HE has started in you and me gives more hope for the future.

As HIS love abounds in us, one cannot hold back to share HIS love with others. Through words, touch, and acts of service, God’s love is extended in the people we meet. They are introduced to a way of life that enriches the soul now and prepares the heart for a future of hope and joy.

Yes, the body needs physical nutrition. But likewise, the soul needs spiritual rejuvenation. And both are gifts from God for our enjoyment. As long as we live, we get to enjoy grape tomatoes. But one day, we will eat our last one.

Then all the unnecessary anxiety and worry we carried will be behind us. All the projects on our to do list will no longer matter. All the self-inflicted battles over our weight and physical challenges will be no more, and the much grace required people in our life will find rest without us.

Everything we enjoyed and suffered until then will be bundled up and put away. Instead, we will take up the mantle and begin a new chapter, with a new body, and a new assignment. We will take hold of all the spiritual riches which up to then we only tasted and begin to fully realize the potential God has given us to serve HIM and complete HIS plans as we move into the new age with our Lord.

Yes, this thoughtful reminder started first thing this morning when I considered the last grape tomato I will ever eat. Who truly understands how the Spirit really works through our minds?    

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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