I recently read the story of Paul and his shipwreck experience in Acts 27. As usual, something random jumped out at me. As Paul tells his shipmates about a dream he had the night before, I was arrested by the descriptors that he used for God. "Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me.'

What a great understanding of what it means to have a relationship with God. He knew that he belonged to God...that it was God who created him, gave him life and breath, and that it was God who had called him and invited him into His family. Paul's understanding of personal ownership was that he was God's. He belonged to God - and to His family.

But Paul also recognized something else. When we are God's, we don't just enjoy the benefit of belonging to Him. We are also called to serve Him. Paul knew that he played an important role in the relationship. He belonged to God, and as a result, he had dedicated his life, his energy, his time and his talent to serve Him.

Most people like the idea of belonging to God - of being in God's family. They like the benefits and the blessings that all of that brings. When they get into trouble, they can go to God and pray for help. When they are in need they can go to God for His provision. When they are sick, they can go to Him for healing. And when they are down, they can go for encouragement and hope.

But too many want to enjoy all the benefits of belonging without the effort of serving.

My kids are a part of my family. They belong to me and they love to enjoy all of the many benefits that affords them. They have food on the table, a roof over their heads, clothing to wear, free transportation and money to do the things they like. They even have free WiFi. They LOVE to belong!

But ask them to do the dishes, put out the garbage, cut the lawn or clean their room! Well, that's a different story. They're not always as sure about this serving stuff. But family is a two way relationship. You can't just enjoy the benefits and not contribute to the household. Well, not at my house anyway!

It's the same in our relationship with God. It has to be a two way street. To belong brings with it the responsibility to contribute - to serve. At least that's the way I see it.

"The God whose I am and whom I serve."


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