Friday, February 3, 2012

Gotta Serve Somebody

The youngest and I are studying medieval times these days. Castles and knights. Lords and serfs and feudalism. We're finding as we read that, while the feudal system kept the peasants down, of course, not all lords were terrible tyrants. Many were good men who protected their people and cared for them. Many were of such good reputation that people chose to give them their allegiance; they had to give it to somebody, after all.

We Americans find the idea of being under someone else's authority repugnant. We are free, we think. Free from all rule and authority. But no, friends, I'm afraid Bob Dylan had it right when he said we gotta serve somebody. Freedom is not freedom from rule -- it is merely the freedom to choose who our ruler will be.

In our American democracy, we are able to choose who will govern us. But we are still subject to their governing. We are able to choose our employer, but we still must submit to that employer's direction. Those who believe in the principle of a wife submitting to her husband point out that the wife chooses the man she intends to submit to. "He's the CEO of the family," my friend once said, "but I'm the Chairman of the Board. He only has that job because I hired him."

Yep, we gotta serve somebody. As I age and grow wiser in the foibles of humanity, I find it amusing when I hear someone insist that they serve no one but themselves, that they live under nobody's rule but their own. As if Self is a beneficent ruler. That is a lie. Self is itself ruled by passions and desires. Our desire for things, which rules our pocketbook. Our passion for tasty food, which destroys our health. Our longing for comfort, which limits our horizons. Self is perhaps the most malicious of all rulers. We're never truly free until we can say no to ourselves, and how few of us are really able to do that.

This hearkens back to my earlier post, about being a slave to sin. About Christ setting us free from slavery to sin, to make us a slave to righteousness. We are always slaves . . . we are just free to choose our master. But we are only free to reject Self as a master when we choose to submit to Christ as a master. Ah, the book of Romans is making so much more sense these days.....

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