Text: Psalm 86; Psalm 110:1 | Listen to Message
Everyone Has A Master
We like to think we’re independent, autonomous, self-determining individuals. The spirit of our age is that we are free – and nobody can tell us what to do.
But the simple fact is we all have a master. We all have a lord. We all have something that controls us. Some people are controlled by money or possessions or the pursuit of “The American Dream.” Some are controlled by power or success. Some are controlled by pleasure or comfort. Some are controlled by the opinions of the peer group they’re most trying to impress. Some are controlled by alcohol, drugs, or some other addiction. Still others are controlled by the drive to maintain a certain kind of appearance or reputation.
For the sake of illustration, let’s say “The American Dream” is your master. Nobody starts out thinking, “I’m going to make myself a slave to ‘The American Dream’ today.” It begins like this: “I just want what everyone else seems to have. I’d like to be successful in my work and make good money so that I can buy enough nice things to be comfortable and happy. Is that so bad?”
But soon enough, that desire turns the tables on you. And rather than you being the master and it being the slave, you find that it’s the master and you’re the slave.
Suddenly, everything is filtered through the lens of having to have “The American Dream.” You avoid people and situations that don’t lead to that end. And you manipulate people and situations that do. Your heart itself changes, and you start to hate and envy others who have what you want. In every spare moment, you find yourself obsessing over how you can get more success and more stuff and more significance and more satisfaction.
In moments of clarity and vulnerability, you can see that you’re not really free. You can see that “The American Dream” dominates and dictates so many things about your life: what you treasure, what you think, how you feel, who your friends are, where you go, how you spend your money and time, etc.
And in moments of real clarity and vulnerability, you can see something else: your master is wrecking you. It’s not making you a better, more beautiful person. It’s sucking the life and joy out of you. It’s bringing out the worst “you.” It’s killing you.
So understand something very important: the choice of every person is not between God and freedom. The choice is between serving God and serving something else. Everyone will always have some master. There are no exceptions.
So what kind of Master is God? And what makes Him a superior or more desirable Master than, say, “The American Dream”?
Well, many things; but here’s just one. In Mark 10:45, the Lord – Jesus Christ – says this about himself: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
First, notice that the Master made himself the servant. Second, notice what he did with his servant status: he gave his life to purchase you out of your slavery. That’s what the word “ransom” means: Jesus died on a Cross to set you free from every other master so that you would belong to him alone. And in coming to Jesus, you have not a master who will destroy you, but a master who was destroyed for you. In Jesus, you have a master who only, always seeks your highest good.