At this time of year, when so many people are re-evaluating their lives and their motivation for living – for our purposes here – trying to determine who we are going to follow or serve in the new year, a rather unique song comes to mind; “Gotta Serve Somebody” by Bob Dylan.

If that seems a bit over-stated, it won’t when you reflect back on some of the habits we routinely try to break free from and the new commitments we attempt to establish in their place; many of them being down-right addictive, others merely ingrained in our daily lives and done almost unconsciously. At times becoming something we “serve” rather than being aided or served by.

And that’s the crux of the problem. Mr. Dylan going to great lengths to remind us that whoever it is we think we are or whatever it is we mean to do – in the end – you’re “gonna serve somebody”. (Highlighting the maxim: If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.)

Mr. Dylan putting it this way:

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

You might be a rock 'n' roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high-degree thief
They may call you doctor or they may call you chief

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

Which, without stretching credulity too far, brings to my mind Jesus’ assertion that, “…whoever wants to save his life (for his own purposes) will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel (in commitment to Christ’s will and way) will save it.” Mark 8:35

Mr. Dylan continues by stressing the point that:

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin' in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody's mistress, may be somebody's heir

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

Still, you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

Once more, causing me to recall Jesus’ insistence that, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

Mr. Dylan whimsically finishing with:

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

…you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

Jesus pointedly asking, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can man give in exchange for his soul?” (Many believing they’d rather die – if it came to that – for something rather than living for nothing.) And then promising, “…the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory, with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:26,27