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"Gotta serve somebody"

by David Thompson

NASHVILLE, TN – There really is something about Mary. Mary was about to marry a man named Joseph, and suddenly found herself expecting a child. Yet she had never known a man intimately. It was her response to the angel that is almost as miraculous as what was happening to her.

Let us remember that nothing like this had ever happened before—and surely has not since. Her response to this news is so classic and yet so timely and yet so perfect. Also keep in mind, Mary was just your everyday teenager that wanted to get married and have a family. But now her plans have been altered, immediately, drastically, unbelievably—ahh.

But she does believe it! And her response is amazingly and overwhelmingly overlooked in most narratives and homilies concerning the incarnation of Jesus. Jesus—the co-creator, eternal, self-existent, second member of the Trinity, Son of God and Deity Incarnate! (That Jesus)

What would you have said if given such life altering news? The Good news is that this was Good News to her and guess what—Mary nailed it! Here is Mary’s truly amazing response, “Behold—the bond slave of the Lord…be it done to me according to your word.” WOW! Mary got it right! (Some versions have it as the handmaiden of the Lord). In essence, Mary is acknowledging her relationship to her Lord. She is saying simply…I am your slave!

A what? A Slave! Mary could not have known that no one in the 21st century would be a fan of that word. But her Son would. In fact, Jesus was a fan of the word when he noted, “Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin.” This young virgin named Mary understood that— she knew that she could be a slave to her selfish desires…Or whatever she wanted in life…Or she could completely and utterly surrender all that she was to all that God is. Now, in my own personal estimation, that’s exactly what it means to be in Christ and for Christ to be in you.

So, here’s the rub, in a world where NO ONE and I mean NO ONE wants to be a slave!!! Absolutely everyone and I mean everyone is in fact a SLAVE! How do we know? Pretty simple really— we are all sinners. The proof is that we do two things…we cast a shadow (something angels don’t do) and we die!

The facts are the facts—the proof is in the pudding—and of all people, Bob Dylan got it right when he wrote the song—“Gotta Serve Somebody”. The lyrics are simply—“you gotta serve somebody…it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord—but you gotta serve somebody.”

So, in a world where everyone thinks they are always right and it seems almost no one is mostly right, let us take a cue from a young Hebrew girl, and let us for once in our lives say, “Lord Jesus—I totally and completely surrender everything to you…in essence…(I am yours)…And no one else’s.

You see dear friend, God loves you just like you are and not like you ought to be. He understands all there is known and unknown about you. Yet he made you to enjoy life (by way of) your surrendered relationship to Him.

Don’t be afraid to follow Mary’s example—trust Jesus unequivocally…give yourself completely without reservation to Him. Jesus will take it from there. He will make something so beautiful with the crumbs you give up. You will be amazed! And you will never, ever, ever regret it!

'Tis the season! Just try Jesus!



Dr. David L. Thompson holds an undergraduate degree from Belmont University in Psychology and Religion, a graduate degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Education, and a doctorate in Counseling and Pastoral Psychology. He has served as a chairman of the Church Planting Group and Executive Committee Chair at the North American Mission Board for 10 years. He has been a Police Chaplain since 1991 and served as a Corporate Chaplain to the Coca Cola Bottling Company in Nashville, Tennessee where he resides with his wife. He has six children and five grandsons.


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