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not the boss of me

What does it mean to belong?

I’m asking this morning because my daily Bible ready plan had me in John 17, where Jesus prays “They do not belong to this world any more than I do.”.

I’ve always just assumed that it meant that we do not belong here…that heaven is our true home and we’re only here for a short time anyway. We were displaced souls, fortunate enough to have been displaced on the only planet that would provide air, water, and wifi.

I’m thinking it means something else though. The word ‘belong’ is from a Hebrew word better translated ‘of’ – and it’s the form of ‘of’ that is used in the genealogies….you know, so and so, son of so and so, son of so and so, and so on.

Rather than ‘belonging’ meaning ‘it belongs there’, as in “That dish belongs in the cupboard….”, the belonging referred to by Jesus is a matter of ownership or genealogy. It’s not just about placement – in fact, it’s not about placement at all – it’s about authority and ownership. When Jesus said you don’t belong to the world, He wasn’t encouraging interplanetary migration. He was clarifying the org chart.

I had a former assistant who would jokingly respond to my directions with the school yard retort: “You’re not the boss of me…”. The joke, of course, was that I indeed was the boss of her. (To clarify – and in case she’s reading this – she was a remarkable team member and a good friend. But I was the boss of her.)

We need to start reading that passage in John 17 with this sort of emphasis. The world is not the boss of you. You live here. You eat, breath, and make your way here….but the system of the world has no more grip on you than you allow it.

You’re not held down by it’s value system. You’re not bound by preordained writ to conform to it’s norms. You’re not destined to repeat your mistakes. The world hosts you, woos you and screams for your affections….you but it doesn’t own you.

Freedom from the belief that you’re chained to a planet as a form of pre-eschatalogical purgatory begins now. The Boss of you is much, much higher.

6 Responses

  1. Having recently made a hard decision to leave the church we’ve been attending for over a decade, and with a hundred or so questions about God based and ordained community, my one passionate prayer/question this morning was “Where do I belong?” (Belong IS the word I was using.)

    lf it’s true when you say about belonging “…it’s not about placement at all – it’s about authority and ownership”, then the answer may be closer than I realized.

    Thank you for sharing.


  2. Brilliant, Randy!

  3. Well said, Randy. And, perfect timing, I might add. Plan to share this with our boys.

  4. The world is NOT the boss of me! Now, that is a freeing concept that can lift the weight of the world off your shoulders, if you’ll let it. Look up, not around.
    Thanks, Randy. My heart feels lighter after pondering this post. : )

  5. P.S. That was me, not he. Mrs. I. : )

  6. “We need to start……than you allow it” Freedom for sure! Randy, I’ve read some of your posts in the past. Was introduced through a friend. Thank you for sharing the truth.

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