Heart check. Would I (choose your skin color) be willing to be a slave to a (choose another race or color) and serve them?
Jesus told the rich young man, “go and sell all you have and give it to the poor” (Mark 10:17-23). This is not an active command for most of us at this moment, but it is a command that could be issued to any of us at any moment. Would I be willing to sell everything if Jesus, my preeminent leader, asked me to? If he did request this radical obedience of me, the risk would be in trade for an amazing outcome.
The Scripture says that as Jesus asked this of the rich young man, that he looked on him and loved him. This was not a cruel request. It was a question rising from love.
So in the same spirit that feels like a radical, confrontative risk to myself, would I be willing to lay down my life for someone I am very different from, and love/serve them as a slave?
The biblical concept of spiritual slavery is pretty clear:
We are all slaves, either of good or of evil. (Romans 6 and 7)
Jesus took on the characteristics of a slave to fulfill his mission. (Philippines 2:7)
Apostles like Paul considered themselves slaves of Christ. (Titus 1:1)
Racism is a form of human devaluation that eventually erodes into acceptance of human slavery. But slavery to the right things will contend with racism. If God asked me to lay my life down to serve someone of a different race than me, a race that didn’t even appreciate my own uniqueness, would I do it? How deep could I go on this journey of love?
This is the undercurrent of how many of the early Moravian missionaries like Dober felt in their call to share Jesus’ love. “I could not get free of it,” he said. “I vowed to myself that if one other brother would go with me, I would become a slave …”
Japanese theologian Koyama, observes that Jesus understood men’s hearts because he loved well. Love gives us the perception we need to see past all the human divides, all the subtle judgments. “Owe no man anything but to love them,” (Romans 13:8). We have a great debt to our world in love that can never be repaid because of the price of Jesus’ cross.
The race of Heaven, represented by God’s favorite Son was despised and rejected by the human race. Jesus was the herald of a brand new race. Rejected by his own, (the Jews) rejected by his adopted ones (the rest of humanity). Let this debt of love give us eyes to see that every human divide was destroyed on that cross.
Human slavery often comes from debts that can’t be repaid. Spiritual slavery is the same. Something will always own our soul.
Slavery is beautiful when its chief work is love.
Slavery builds when the vision is peace.
Slavery is powerful when the master is Christ.
Slavery to God’s Spirit is the carefree heart of a child.
Slavery like this crumbles demonic racism.
Gallery of Leading Figures. (1982). Christian History Magazine-Issue 1: Zinzendorf & the Moravians.
Kosuke Koyama. (1980). Three Mile an Hour God: Biblical Reflections. Orbis Books