Rich Mullins, Paul, Jesus and Submission
I saw Rich Mullins in concert a couple of times before he died. In fact, I was trying to buy tickets to another concert the day he died, but that’s a story for another day.
I loved Rich’s songs. Perhaps even more I loved to hear him talk between songs. He would describe how he was trying to live this life of following Christ. He didn’t preach. He just shared. It was pretty cool.
One of the things I discovered about his life was that he gave control of his finances over to the elders of his church. His source of income was from the songs he wrote and touring. He asked the elders of his church to pay him the average salary of an average American. No more. No less. The rest he wanted donated to the causes he loved, such as the Navajo children of the reservation he moved to so that he could teach music. He was one different cat.
The thing about it is that Rich voluntarily placed himself in submission to the elders of his church. Perhaps you and I would not go to that extreme, but we could all use a good dose of being submissive.
Before we get too far, though, let’s pause to define what I mean by submission. First, I don’t mean others have total control of your life. That is not what I believe Biblical submission is. The submission I am talking about is voluntarily giving up your rights for the betterment of others. We might defer to someone else when we could take the lead. We set aside our own agendas and goals to further the agendas and goals of a larger group. Maybe we let someone else be the leader even though we believe that we could lead as well or better. There are countless ways we could make this happen.
Paul tells us that we should be submissive to each other. Within that framework, wives submit to husbands and husbands love their wives. Children obey parents and parents do not provoke children to anger. Slaves obey their masters and masters treat the slaves well. All of these are ways submission happens. Everyone is in submission to each other. Within that framework, submission should not be a problem since each one is looking out for what is best for the other.
The best model of submission has to be found in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was equal with the Father, yet lived in submission to Him here on earth. He displayed what submission was like. He made the Father’s agenda His own.
Submission is generally considered an ugly word in the world and sometimes even uglier within the church. Submission has definitely been abused both inside and outside the Church. It’s our job to practice and model true Biblical submission. After all the Son was submissive to the Father.
Have you ever had trouble accepting the idea of submission found in the Bible?