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I’ve noticed how easy it is for me to dismiss passages of Scripture that don’t immediately appear to address me.

In Colossians 3, Paul is addressing the community of faith and offers some general counsel to all followers of Jesus explaining how they can do life together. From there, he turns his attention to husbands and wives, parents and children, and then masters and slaves. Right there I catch myself dismissing the text. Paul writes:

Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. (Colossians 4:1)

I’m not a master, I don’t have slaves. The text doesn’t address me. Right?

If I pause and think about it for a minute I realize that there might just be some application to my life. Although Paul is speaking to those with particular roles, the idea of how those who are “boss” and those who are not has broader application. Here, Paul insists that those with the authority to make decisions for others are to carry out their role with justice and fairness.

How often do we readily and willingly pursue that? When I have the upper hand, when I have the chance to get things to go in my favor, the tendency is to make take advantage of the advantage–the ideas of pursuing what is really just and fully fair tend to fade into the background.

So, if I do have the opportunity to “be in charge,” what should I do with that opportunity?

Jesus offers me some insight that is consist with Paul’s advice here. He explains:

Jesus said to [his disciples], “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.” (Mark 10:42-44)

If I want to live consistent with Jesus’ view of life, when I have the opportunity to “be boss” the only thing to do is to serve others with that authority, to become a slave with that power. From a kingdom vantage point, that counteracts the tendency toward being”bossy” (and seeking to have my own way or leveraging the opportunity for my advantage). As a result, I will be much freer to pursue what is just and fair for all.

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