To be his changes everything. Or, at least, it should. But, that's one of the raw places in the practice of faith just now. We're certainly the entrepreneurial generation, with our mission statements, branding, church planting strategies, valet parking, and corporate board room organization. Yet, we've buried an important piece of the market place motif under our Disney Cruise Line facade. You see, there's this bond-slave thing, this dramatic explanation of how we became his in the first place. We've been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). And, if the biblical record is to be believed and followed, that changes everything.
We track life through a jumble of pronouns. Early on we grasp the "me-myself-and-I" of self- absorbed infancy. Later we learn that we're not alone. There's a "you" in the picture, and later, an "us" and "we". Somewhere in the developmental process we discover "them" and can always filter life through the "us" and "them" dichotomy. Suddenly, in an act of sovereign grace that I just cannot fathom, we are "his". Here is the pronoun that shifts everything. That is, unless we've discounted it's value and missed its meaning altogether.
A couple of years ago, I spent some time comparing and constrasting the two basic words used for "servant" in the New Testament. Up front I know that I'm a language slacker and go a little simple when exploring the treasures of Bible words. So, there's "diakonos" and "doulos", terms that many Bible scholars see as synonymous. Many of the new translations, however, provide a point of contrast between them, rendering "doulos" as "bond slave". For me, the pictures of "diakonos" and "doulos" are differentiated by two symbols---the towel of service for the "diakonos" , and the chain of slavery for the "doulos". I know it may be a stretch. But, there's a point. If we've actually been bought with a price, then we are "bond slaves", words used quite often in the New Testament. Stay with me. The "diakonos" is motivated by love for others. The "doulos" is motivated by absolute obedience to his or her master. Everything is changed when we are bought with a price. To be owned alters the entire course of our lives.
Many church people are still spiritual infants caught is the world of "me-myself-and I". This is the shallow, self-indulgent play-pen of people who pretend to belong to him and yet refuse to release their claims on just about everything. Imagine trying to pamper and teach and lead a gathering of self-absorbed children who lay claim to just about everything. OK, I get it. Our pre-school and childrens' volunteers do that every time the church gathers. But, there is a difference in leading children who know they're children and adults who do not. Nonethless, it's what a great number of our called pastors and church staffers do every single day of their ministry life. It's one of the missing elements of our sophisticated world: the church is his too.
I used to flinch when people said "I love my church!". That doesn't bother me as much as the many people who never say it but prevent the great commission from happening because of their strangle-hold on the facilities, finances, staff, and mission organization of the church.
To be his changes everything. If it doesn't, someone has a flawed understanding of what it means to be a Christian. What is more, if the church is not his in everything, then she will be disconnected, stagnant, and impotent.