Published by Barnabas International • PO Box 11211 • Rockford, IL 61126 • Volume XV• No. 3 • March 2001
LEE HOTCHKISS, Executive Director <> LAREAU LINDQUIST, Founder
Now and then God speaks to us from an unusual source. Recently this happened to me. I listened to a song written by a prominent folk song writer, Bob Dylan. As far as I know, the song was not written as a Christian song, not even as a religious song. Yet it quite pointedly and profoundly makes a point. The song, YOU GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY has a refrain that appears again and again ...
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord,
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
Dylan speaks to all of us at some point or another throughout the song. Let me randomly mention parts and pieces of the song . . .
You may be rich or poor; live in a mansion or a dome; be a doctor or a chief;
You may wear cotton or silk; you may eat caviar or bread; you may drink whiskey or milk;
You may sleep on the floor or in a king-sized bed; You may be the preacher with spiritual pride;
And then we again hear these words, the familiar refrain with its inescapable choice . . .
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody.
I listened to the song many times . . . over and over . . . and as I digested it, I was convinced that it speaks to all of us. He addresses each of us, in spite of our differences, culturally, ethnically, or religiously. Daily we are giving ourselves to someone or to something. Our souls are giving allegiance to someone or to something. Christians, let's not be deceived into thinking we are not vulnerable for a wrong allegiance.
Jesus said, No man can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money (Matthew 7:24). He is teaching that we cannot serve a cluster of equal loves. Not even dual loves. The reality is this. There will be a singularity of someone or something that will capture our interest . . . determine our choices . . . demand our time. That person or thing will of necessity force everything else into a lesser place of prominence.
He even mentions the preacher with spiritual pride. Ouch. That is so often a possibility. It is possible to belong to the Lord who alone is worthy of our devotion and yet have ugly inner thieves lurking and hoping to be given prominence. Or it may be good and worthy things that crowd out the Lord.. Maybe ego gets in the way . . . or ministry . . . or busyness . . . or people. It must be the Lord ALONE.
Remember the three men in the fiery furnace who boldly declared their allegiance to the Lord with these words . . . THE GOD WE SERVE (Daniel 3:17). When King Nebuchadnezzar threatened them and demanded their loyalty, they re-affirmed that God ALONE was in first place in their lives. They made it clear to the king that their priority was NOT debatable, NOT negotiable, NOT temporary. It was settled long before the challenge of betrayal presented itself. Joshua, too, made such a commitment and urged others to do the same. He said . . . Choose this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Perhaps this needs to be a daily re-affirmation. Let's keep it fresh and constant.
Almost a century ago, Jennie E. Hussey wrote these words . . . King of my life I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be; Lest I forget thy thorn-crowned brow, Lead me to Calvary.
Hear it again . . . it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody.